By James Ritchey
On Friday, Jan. 26, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University softball began the 2018 season with games against the College of Idaho and Ottawa University Arizona.
Last season, the Eagles ended with a 17-37 record, never really finding their stride. ERAU consistently struggled with offense, and never had more than a two game win streak. However, additions to the team give ERAU much more optimism for the upcoming season.
ERAU signed seven new players, including two pitchers and multiple utility players. With seniors Kaila Romero, Hannah DeLuna, and Samantha Nelson providing an experienced core outfield, and young returning infielders Taylor Szathmary, Kaila Provost, and Myranda Windahl constantly improving, the Eagles have much to look forward to.
Star players Katey Moore, who was selected as first team all-CalPac last season, and Olivia Ramos, who led the Eagles in strikeouts and innings pitched last season, are both returning and will provide skill and leadership to make ERAU a serious contender this season. Head Coach Marie Thompson and Assistant Volunteer Coach Dale Thompson, along with the rest of the team, have been practicing hard and refining their play style in preparation for the new season.
The Eagles opened their season at the Spirit/Anderson Classic in Surprise, Ariz. They will continue on the road against San Diego Christian on Feb. 2 and against Arizona Christian on Feb. 10.
ERAU’s first home game will be Feb. 19 against Corban University. Other key home games include the Copper State Classic tournament hosted by ERAU from Feb. 23 – Feb. 25 and doubleheaders against La Sierra on Mar. 9 and Mar. 11.
Late March and early April will be the most critical part of the Eagles’ season, with home games against Ottawa University Arizona and San Diego Christian, followed by consecutive conference matches against Simpson University, Marymount California University, and Benedictine University at Mesa. The Eagles will showcase their abilities by competing in their home tournament, the Copper State Classic, and the Tucson Invitational tournament on 16 Mar.
Nearly all matchups will be doubleheaders, and CalPac conference matchups will involve two days of play against each opponent. Be sure to come out and support your team as they power through the California Pacific conference!