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Softball Season Preview

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Weber State University’s Sara Clark pitches the ball in an exhibition game during the fall preseason. WSU softball will start their season Feb. 10 in a tournament at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Weber State University’s softball team is gearing up for their 2012 season.

The season is imminent, and the players aren’t wasting any time as they are rigorously practicing six days per week.  The team is returning 11 players, five of whom are seniors with high hopes who have embraced the motto of, “Leave it all out on the field.”

This is the team’s third season, and the ‘Cats hope to build off of their second season, which was an improvement on the first.

“We hope to win our division, which consists of six teams,” said Sarah Clark, senior Wildcat pitcher.  “Last year we were always a couple of plays or just an out away whenever we lost in the division. This year we plan on coming out on top.”

Erica James-Dixon said the team has been working on the fundamentals in preparation of the new season.

“The biggest area we want to focus on right now is our hitting,” James-Dixon said. “We have been working on our fundamentals and have been getting our defense ready, which feels solid.”

She also said last season the team struggled at the plate, and getting more runners on base is a big focus for the team this year.

“Now we want to do a lot more to become better hitters,” James-Dixon said. “We struggled with it a little last year and hope to get a lot more players on base this season.”

The Wildcats have reason to be eager to get James-Dixon on base as she set the conference record for stolen bases in 2011 with 35 steals.  She is now only five steals away from setting the Pacific Coast Conference career record.

“Speed helps in softball,” James-Dixon said. “There’s nothing better than stealing bases on the same catcher when she has no chance of getting you out.”

The season begins with WSU on the road playing in a series of preseason tournaments starting in Las Vegas on February 10th against Kent State University at the Sportco Kickoff Classic where the team will play five games in three days.

The team will then go to Las Cruces, N.M., Cedar City, and Fort Collins, Colo., before coming back for their home opener at the Wildcat Softball Complex located next to the Dee Events Center on March 13th.

They will host the Dixie State Rebels in a doubleheader with the first game starting at 1 p.m.

Clark said the team is excited for the season, especially the home  opener.

“We would love to have a lot of people come watch and support us,” Clark said.  “When you have the advantage of being at home and playing in front of a huge crowd, you definitely play a lot better.”

The Wildcats are in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference and will play a total 53 games before the postseason.  The conference includes two divisions, and the winner of each division will play in the PCSC Championship on May 11 – 12.  The winner of the championship will then move on to Super Regionals, a 65-team tournament, from which the ten best will move on to the College World Series.

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