Highs outshine lows in successful Cal softball season

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When the Cal softball team lost last weekend to Alabama, it marked the end to a season of highs and lows. There were times this season when the Bears were on fire, beating anyone that stepped in their way, and other moments when the Bears failed to live up to their potential, losing games they should’ve easily won.

But the Bears can still be proud of the season they had, because the positives clearly outweighed the negatives.

Cal’s season officially came to an end Sunday when the Bears were eliminated from postseason play after losing 8-0 to the Crimson Tide. Alabama’s sophomore pitcher Alexis Osorio dominated the Bears in the 6.2 innings she pitched, only allowing a total of three hits. The only hitter that found some type of success was sophomore Jazmyn Jackson, ending the day with two hits in three at-bats.

Still, Cal’s final game of the season was in no way representative of the year the Bears had.

The most valuable player for the Bears this season was without a doubt senior starting pitcher Nisa Ontiveros. She progressed tremendously as a pitcher this season, finishing with a 2.05 ERA. This also includes a total of 189 strikeouts in 167 innings pitched, allowing her to finish with an overall record of 18-8.

Her best performance of the season came April 29 when Cal traveled south to compete against rival Stanford. Ontiveros nearly pitched a perfect game, striking out a career-high 13 batters while leading her team to a 10-1 victory.

But Ontiveros’ pitching wasn’t the only highlight for the Bears this season. The team’s hitting, led all year by Jackson, was just as good. Jackson ended the year with a team-high 82 hits and a .380 batting average. She also accumulated 28 regular season RBI, tied with freshman Lindsay Rood for the third most on the team.

And Jackson was far from Cal’s only reliable hitter this season. The Bears also received substantial production from junior Kylie Reed. She finished as the team’s leader in batting average (.403) and second most in hits with 75.

The team’s most clutch hitter on the other hand was without a doubt sophomore Kobie Pettis. Pettis came through for the Bears this season at the most crucial times, driving in runs when it mattered most. This is highlighted by her team-leading 35 RBI this season. One of her most memorable moments came May 13 when the Bears went up against Arizona. Pettis came through for Cal in the top of the third, driving in two runs and giving her team a much needed 4-1 lead.

Even though Cal’s season didn’t end the way the team wanted, there’s still plenty to be excited about for next year. The most obvious being the fact that the team’s top five hitters, all batting above .300, will all return.

The Bears will need to put in the work this offseason if they want to go farther in the playoffs next year, and that’s something they’re prepared to do.

Alex Quintana covers softball. Contact him at [email protected].