Pomona-Pitzer Softball Opens Friday vs. La Sierra

Claremont, Calif. - The Pomona-Pitzer Softball team opens the 2012 season when it entertains La Sierra for a doubleheader on Friday at 12:30 p.m.

The Sagehens are coming off a 16-23 season in 2011 and will be looking to take the next step forward and qualify for the SCIAC Tournament this spring, as they return most of their key players from a year ago, particularly in the pitching circle.

However, one big void in the line-up will need to be filled with the graduation of All-SCIAC catcher Alyssa Corley, who batted .361 with 13 home runs and 41 RBI last year. Corley accounted for half of the team's 26 home runs by herself and was particularly lethal in conference, batting .420 with seven homers and 24 RBI in 22 SCIAC games.

The Sagehens do have some solid offensive weapons returning, led by sophomore All-SCIAC utility player Caitlyn Hynes (Upland, Calif.), who hit .360 as a freshman while splitting time in the outfield, at designated player, and in the pitching circle. Senior first baseman Bri Marcantoni (Chino Hills, Calif.) will provide power in the heart of the line-up after hitting .331 with six homers and 34 RBI last year, while senior shortstop Ari Roach (Pinole, Calif.) also hit over .300 last year (.311).

In the circle, junior Carolyn Cross (Silverdale, Wash. - pictured) did most of the heavy lifting for Pomona-Pitzer last year, appearing in 38 of 39 contests (including 25 starts). Cross was 12-17 overall with a 3.36 ERA and over a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (103 strikeouts, 49 walks) in 2011. Hynes also gained some valuable time in the pitching circle last season (14 appearances), along with sophomore Marilyn Cresswell (Wheaton, Ill. - 10 appearances). Incoming freshmen Fiona Riley (Berkeley, Calif.) and Jessica Liu (Alamo, Calif.) will also compete for time in the circle, along with sophomore Nickelle Raschick (Sitka, Alaska) giving the Sagehens one of the deepest pitching staffs they have ever had.

Senior outfielder Emily Buika (Long Beach, Calif.) and junior third baseman Kathryn Rabak (Grass Valley, Calif.) were also everyday starters in the batting order last year, along with Cross, who batted for herself and handled the designated player role when she was not in the pitching circle. Sophomore infielder Allison Boden (Atlanta, Ga.) and sophomore outfielder Shannon Julius (Coronado, Calif.) were part-time starters last spring as freshmen and will look to expand their roles this year, while the team's seven incoming freshmen will provide the program with an influx of talent.

Allison Boden is one of three triplets on the Sagehens, along with sisters Lauren Boden (Atlanta, Ga.) and Stephanie Boden (Atlanta, Ga.). All three sisters are also part of the Pomona-Pitzer Women's Golf team and play two sports simultaneously in the spring.

After facing La Sierra, the Sagehens will travel to Vanguard next Saturday (Feb. 4) before returning home to face Pacific (Feb. 10) and Chapman (Feb. 11).