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Softball Opens Season with two Doubleheaders

Feb. 14, 2007

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Gaels Open Season: The Saint Mary's softball team will open its 2007 season this week with a Thursday doubleheader against the Sonoma State Seawolves and a Sunday doubleheader against the Humboldt State Lumberjacks. 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 Thursday, February 15 at 1:00 p.m. from Cottrell Field. Sunday's competition is slated for noon at Cottrell Field.

Scouting the Seawolves: Sonoma State enters this week with a 2-4 overall record. The Seawolves will play in two games this week. They are at home on Wednesday to face Dominican University and travel to Moraga to face Saint Mary's on Thursday. The Seawolves are led by freshman infielder Ashley Eisemann. Eisemann is boasting a .524 average with 11 hits in just 21 at-bats. The freshman has recorded three runs and three RBI. In the circle, Sonoma State is led by sophomore Brittany Williams. Williams sports a 0.51 ERA while recording the win in both of Sonoma State's victories.

Scouting the Lumberjacks: Humboldt State enters the week with a 5-1 overall record. The Lumberjacks will face off in a doubleheader with Sonoma State on Saturday and play another doubleheader on Sunday against Saint Mary's. Leading the Humboldt State offense is senior centerfielder Nancy Harbeson and sophomore first baseman Natalie Galletly. Harbeson sports a .471 average with a team leading eight hits. Galletly has proven to be the big bat boasting a .444 average, eight hits, five runs, eight RBI and three homeruns. Lizzy Prescot has been getting it done in the circle. She has a 0.35 ERA in 20 IP.

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.

Blame it on the Rain: The Gaels scheduled opening day match against the UC Davis Aggies was called because of the heavy Moraga rains. The match has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 7. The Gaels will now open their season this Thursday against Sonoma State.

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: The Gaels season will get in full swing next week. On Tuesday Saint Mary's makes the short trek to Berkeley to play No. 10 California. They will then play in the UC Davis Tournament that weekend. The Gaels will play Kentucky on Friday and UC Davis and UC Riverside on Saturday and Sunday.