Feb 01, 2018

2018 Softball Season Preview

A Winning Tradition

 
  • 1 NCAA Regional Tournament (2016)
  • 1 NAIA Regional Tournament (1994)
  • 1 NAIA District Championship (1994)
  • 1 Cascade Conference Championship (1994)
  • 4 Northwest Conference Tournament (2012, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • 1 NAIA District Coach of the Year
  • 3 Northwest Conference Coaches of the Year
  • (NFCA) Division III National Pitcher of the Week (Abbie Bergerson, 2015)
  • 2 NFCA All-West Region Second Team 
 

By Jake Bienvenue

NEWBERG, Ore. – In wake of a third straight season finishing above the .500 mark in conference play, the George Fox softball team is eager to see what it can accomplish in 2018.

The Bruins went 20-17 overall and 15-13 in the Northwest Conference last year, earning a playoff berth in the NWC tournament for the third season in a row.

After graduating only one player, the Bruins are prime to improve upon the success of recent years. This year's group features an experienced core of players, many of whom have proven themselves and carry with them high expectations.

According to head coach Jessica Hollen, many of her players are focused on simply being consistent.

"I feel like we can be competitive in every game we play in," she says. As Hollen sees it, expectations of the team have less to do with wins and losses and more to do with playing up to potential.

One notable difference between this year's team and the 2017 squad is experience. Ten freshmen suited up last spring, and many of them earned significant playing time. This year, with only four freshmen and eight seniors, there is a different roster dynamic.

"The same pressure on the freshman class isn't there this year, which is different than past seasons," Hollen said. "The older players are a lot more comfortable in their roles."

The squad is highlighted by four proven seniors: Rebecca Pridmore, Annie Veatch, Madison Sorensen and Abbie Bergerson.

Veatch led the Bruins in RBIs (29) and home runs (six) last season while also leading the Bruins in doubles (12) to go with an impressive batting average (.360). Pridmore tied for the most runs scored on the team (21) and also registered nine RBIs.

Sorensen and Bergerson will again be the Bruins' aces after combining to throw 239.1 innings and team up for 19 wins last season. Sorensen was exceptional last year, pacing the Northwest Conference in both strikeouts (95) and ERA (1.85). Her 95 strikeouts were a whopping 10 more than the next best pitcher.

The Bruins will face a gauntlet of games early, taking on Whitworth on Feb. 24 and 25 in a four-game series before heading to Arizona to play six games in three days against some of the toughest competition they will face all season. They follow that with a four-game series against Linfield, playing a massive 14 games in 16 days.

Hollen has high hopes for her team even in the face of a tough schedule.

"I really like our group," she said. "It seems like they're excited. Right frame of mind, hungry and ready to go."

The Bruins kick off the season on the road, taking on Redlands on Friday, Feb. 9.