Feb. 7, 2007
Gaels Open Season: The Saint Mary's softball team will open its 2007 season this weekend with a doubleheader against the UC Davis Aggies. This year's team, laden with returning players and backed by head coach Jessica Hanaseth, is excited to begin competition. The season opener will be held on Saturday, February 10 at noon from Cottrell Field.
Scouting the Aggies: This weekend's match is the season opener for both teams. The Aggies closed last season with a 15-39 overall record and a 2-19 away record. UC Davis returns on of their best offensive players in sophomore Belinda Paine. Paine led the team with a .328 batting average. She also led the team with 12 stolen bases. Junior Ashley Johnson led the team last year with eight doubles, five homeruns and 66 total bases.
In their last meeting, Davis edged the Gaels in both games of a doubleheader winning the first game 3-0 and the second game 1-0 in Davis, CA. The last time the Gaels hosted the Aggies was in 2005. The Gaels swept both games of a doubleheader winning the first game 4-0 and the second game 7-4. The first game of the 2005 doubleheader marked the first collegiate victory for Gael pitcher Megan Galloway.
Season Outlook: The Gaels look to their ever growing stability in the program to lead them in the 2007 season. Head coach Jessica Hanaseth returns for her third year and assistant coach Staci Hamaguchi returns for her second year. Both Hanaseth and Hamaguchi began their Saint Mary's career as players and have since moved into coaching. The Gaels also return several starters from last season, including all four infield starters. The Gaels also return nearly all of their pitchers from the previous season. Saint Mary's brought in five new faces to the program. These newcomers are led by junior transfer Molly Bergeson. Bergeson was one of the top offensive forces at Bradley University before making the change to Saint Mary's. Defensively, she will help out in the outfield, after the Gaels graduated two of three outfield starters last season. The group is set on improving their 5-49 record from last season and making a push to the top of the conference.
All-Conference Returnee: The Gaels are glad to return Junior Bronwyn Russell. Russell was named to the ALL-PCSC honorable mention squad. This marks the second straight year in which she has been awarded by the conference. In her freshman season Russell was named the PCSC Freshman of the Year. Last year, Russell led the Gaels in several offensive categories including average (.394), runs (20), hits (54), doubles (8), triples (2), total bases (55), base on balls (23), slugging percentage (.482), on-base percentage (23) and stolen bases (10) as well as finishing with a .940 fielding percentage playing second base and right field.
Gaels on Opening Day: Saint Mary's brings a 9-28 opening day record into this weekend match. The Gaels last opening day win was on January 30, 2002 at Cottrell Field with a 1-0 victory over Sacramento State. When opening at home the Gaels have a 6-13 record. In last years opening day the Gaels fell to San Jose State by a score of 6-0 and to UC Riverside by a score of 5-4 while at the UC Riverside Tournament. The Gaels look for their first opening day victory under third year head coach Jessica Hanaseth.
Third Year Head Coach Jessica Hanaseth: Jessica Hanaseth enters her third season as the head coach for the Saint Mary's softball team. Hanaseth took over the position two years ago after being a part of the program as a coach and player for eight seasons. As head coach of the Gaels she will work with all aspects of the game. Hanaseth works with infielders, outfielders and hitters as well as recruiting and community service. Hanaseth, a 2001 graduate of SMC with a degree in Health Physical Education and Recreation with a teaching emphasis, finished her playing career second in RBI (84), third in doubles (19), and eighth with a .284 career batting average.
Up Next for the Gaels: After Saint Mary's faces off with the Aggies, they will host two more doubleheaders the next week. On Thursday February 15, the Gaels host Sonoma State at 1:00 p.m. On Sunday February 18, the Gaels will host Humboldt State at Noon. Both doubleheaders will take play at Cottrell Field.