Softball swings into new year

The California Baptist University softball team has made a habit of finishing on top. Whether the competition has been in the Golden State Athletic Conference or the Pacific West Conference, the Lancers have dominated the competition enroute to obtaining nine straight conference titles.

CBU won eight consecutive GSAC titles from 2004- 2011 and, in 2012, the Lancers introduced themselves to the PacWest by winning their first conference championship.

In that nine-year span, the Lancers also have won national championships in both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (2009) and National Christian College Athletic Association (2012).

For many programs, this type of success would cause complacency, but the 2013 team is working harder than ever to secure a full decade of dominance.

The first challenge this season’s squad faces is replacing players in key spots.

Sloan McHann, the team’s first baseman and senior kinesiology major, knows that the rest of the team must help younger players transition into these important roles.

“A big key (to the team’s success) is to play solid defense behind our pitchers,” McHann said. “They’re freshmen and so they’re not used to this level. We need to support them with solid (defense) and our bats.”

Offensively, the Lancers’ lineup will be imposing. McHann is in the top-10 in six of CBU’s all-time offensive categories. Right next to her is All-America infielder Mara Rodriguez, senior psychology major. Rodriguez and McHann will help solidify an experienced lineup.

“Offensively, we are strong,” Rodriguez said. “Defensively, we need work, but seven of us are returners. This experience will help a lot. We need to encourage the younger players.”

The Lancers plan to meet these challenges through hard work.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on how hard we work,” McHann said.

This type of leadership, commitment and dedication has lead to season after season of successful achievements.

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