This early in the season, it doesn’t get any better than No. 1. In the entire nation.
The Cal softball team received top honors in the ESPN/ USA Softball polls this week, after sweeping four straight schools in last weekend’s ASU tournament.
After a strong postseason run at the College World Series last spring, the team returns all nine of its starters, foremost among them Jolene Henderson. The junior pitcher received All-American honors and was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
The Bears also return Valerie Arioto, who redshirted last year due to injury. The utility switches between first base and pitcher, and even in the fledgling season has already proven her prowess. After notching three home runs and nine RBI this past weekend, Arioto was named both the USA Softball and the Pac-12 Player of the Week.