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Stanford softball looks to rebound in season-opening Kajikawa Classic
Sophomore Lauren Frost wrote a blog on gostanford.com detailing Stanford softball's preseason preparation and excitement at a new season. Frost is part of a young core hoping to regenerate success for the struggling Cardinal program. (David Bernal/ isiphotos.com)

Stanford softball looks to rebound in season-opening Kajikawa Classic

Stanford softball heads south to Tempe, Arizona to open its 2017 season, gearing up for a long weekend of play in the Kajikawa Classic. Stanford opens the six-game tournament against the University of Texas at El Paso on Thursday.

During the four-day tournament, the Cardinal will alternate between playing one game a day and two games a day. The weekend finishes with a California double header, beginning against the University of San Diego and ending with CSU Fresno.

After a disappointing last season for the team, including an 18-game losing streak to end the season, the entire program will be hungry to reset and turn around their fortunes for 2017.

This upcoming campaign will be particularly interesting for a struggling Stanford program. In order to get their first conference victory since 2015, the Cardinal need to pick up all facets of their game after finishing dead last in the Pac-12 in batting average, hits, RBIs, earned run average and opponent batting average.

That being said, Stanford’s squad has revitalized itself over the off-season, competing in intra-squad scrimmages to compliment training under Navy Seals. The focus has not been not only fitness, but team building and chemistry necessary for a long spring season. The Cardinal also welcomed nine freshman to the squad last season, a whole starting lineup, and an extremely young roster with 13 out of 20 players either freshmen or sophomores.

Sophomore Carolyn Lee will be leading the youth movement, coming off an impressive freshman season in 2016, in which the right-hander started 31 of Stanford’s games. While Lee’s inflated 5.76 ERA certainly wasn’t helped by an error-prone Stanford defense, Lee’s insane playing time last season will likely pay off on the mound in 2017.

In addition to the young roster boost, the Cardinal will be glad to have senior Kylie Sorenson coming back to galvanize and direct the Stanford squad. As a junior, Sorenson led Stanford in batting average (.339), home runs (8), RBI (25), walks (20), fewest strikeouts (3) and on-base percentage (.456). The starting infielder will also be anxious to get back onto the field after starting every game she played last year before being sidelined mid-season by an injury.

Throughout the winter term, Stanford will play in five different tournaments, including the Stanford Easton Classic held at the Farm. In March, the squad transitions into conference play. While the Kajikawa Classic marks only the first in a long sequence, the Cardinal will surely want to start winter play with some momentum to carry into the spring.

Watch women’s softball season progress through a vital program-defining year on gostanford.com or at here at The Daily, where all games will be recapped. First pitch between the El Paso and the Card will take place on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. PT.


Contact Lorenzo Rosas at enzor9 ‘at’ stanford.edu