Oct. 12, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--While most students will be using fall break to catch up on sleep and studies, or escape on a minication for a few days, the University of New Mexico softball team will be in Tucson, Ariz., competing in the Arizona Fall Classic.
The Lobos will log five games over three days in the six-team tournament.
Second-year head coach Erica Beach and the Lobos will use this weekend's tournament to try different lineups and gauge the team's strengths and weaknesses.
"We will be playing a lot of innings this weekend against some excellent junior colleges as well as a very tough Arizona program, which will be a fantastic challenge for us," Beach said. "We are looking forward to challenging ourselves and seeing how hard we can compete with these teams."
Beach says the team has been working on the "little things"--strength and conditioning, technique, and repetitions. The team's four newcomers are also still acclimating to Lobo life and Lobo softball.
"Overall, the team is coming together really well right now and this road trip will not only be a great challenge on the field, but a great bonding opportunity for everyone," Beach said.
Friday, Oct. 14
3:30 p.m. -- New Mexico vs. Pima Community College
8:00 p.m. - New Mexico vs. Cypress College
Saturday, Oct. 15
5:30 p.m. - New Mexico at Arizona
Sunday, Oct. 16
9:00 a.m. - New Mexico vs. Phoenix College
11:00 a.m. - New Mexico vs. Central Arizona College
Pima Community College
The Aztecs went 51-14 last season and reached the no. 9 spot on the National Junior College Athletic Association's final poll. Pima was runner-up in the Arizona Community College Athletic Association's tournament and went on to finish runner-up in the Region I tournament.
The Aztecs garnered several individual accolades in 2011, including six all-ACCAC awards. In her debut season, sophomore hurler Marina Contreras earned NJCAA All-American first team honors and was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American second team. Contreras played in 37 games, pitching 205.2 innings while compiling an ERA of 1.668 and a win-loss record of 29-3. Fellow returner Jessica Schneider was named to the NFCA's All-American first team. The infielder/outfielder played in 58 games, ending the season with a .500 batting average while knocking a team-high 29 doubles and driving in 54 runs.
Pima faced Arizona in fall ball action on Sunday, Oct. 9 with the Wildcats topping the Aztecs, 18-0.
The Chargers finished the 2011 season with a record of 42-8 en route to capturing their tenth consecutive Orange Empire Conference Championship and their second-straight California Community College State Championship. Head coach Brad Pickler has been at the helm of Cypress' softball program for 25 years and has won seven state championships. Pickler and his staff were named the California Junior College National Coaching Staff of the Year for 2011 by the NFCA.
Returning for the sophomore season for the Chargers are Jessica Reichner and Monique Hernandez. Rechner started all 48 games for Cypress, accumulating a .392 batting average and driving in 31 runs. Hernandez was the Chargers' ace, boasting a 1.19 ERA and 82 strike outs in 135.2 innings pitched.
The Wildcats finished 43-18 last season, falling to Oklahoma in the Super Regional. It was the first time in 22 seasons that Arizona wasn't part of the Women's College World Series.
Six regular starters from last year's squad return, including pitcher Kenzie Fowler. The Wildcats' go-to pitcher compiled a 26-9 record en route to earning NFCA All-American second team honors, NFCA All-West Region first team honors and second team All-Pac 10. The junior was also one of 25 players in the running for USA Softball Player of the Year honors.
Arizona faced Pima Community College last weekend, Oct. 9, and got the win, 18-0.
The Bears were 43-22 in 2011, led by freshmen Cheyenne Adams and Sarah Ray. Adams, an infielder, was named an NJCAA Division II First Team All-American, leading the team with a .500 batting average. Ray was named an NJCAA Division II Second Team All-American. The Bears' ace pitched 230 innings, tallying 159 strike outs and compiling a record of 21-14.
Central Arizona College
The Vaqueras were 22-9 in 2011.