SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University Bronco softball officially opened spring practices today, Saturday, Jan. 14. Former Olympian and fourth-year head coach Lisa Mize has brought in an outstanding class of recruits for the new season, which begins Thursday, Feb. 9 at UTEP.
"There is a lot of new energy surrounding our program right now," said Mize. "We have 10 new student-athletes on the roster. Two transfers that will help us right away, Carissa Theis, a pitcher who went to Leigh High School in San Jose and helped New Mexico State win a WAC title and junior college Player of the Year, infielder Alyssa Jepsen."
Bronco fans should also enjoy watching freshman catcher Breezy Bernard play, who Mize thinks will be an immediate starter behind the plate, not to mention two-way freshman standout and Peruvian National Team member Jaymi Bautista-Geiger – the most accomplished prep player brought in by Mize since she took over the program prior to the 2009 campaign.
"It's a great time for this program," said Mize. "The stadium announcement was fantastic news and that is really uplifting, not only for the young players, but obviously for the alumni and past players that have gone through this program. It's something that's well deserved for the softball program here."
In the meantime, Santa Clara will continue to play its Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) home games at West Valley College in Saratoga. Back-to-back weekend homestands in late April will feature four games apiece with league rivals St. Mary's (Apr. 21-22) and Cal State Bakersfield (Apr. 28-29).
But the first chance to catch the 2012 Broncos up close and personal will be on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. when they open their home schedule under the lights of PAL Stadium in San Jose against UC Davis. Santa Clara will also be hosting James Madison University on Wednesday, March 7 at PAL Stadium before playing three home games at the SCU Invitational the weekend of March 10-11 at San Jose State's Spartan Softball Stadium.
"The number one thing this group needs is confidence, in their play and in themselves," said Mize, about the season ahead. "That's been difficult for us the past few seasons. When you lose a couple games and things don't go your way, it's easy to get into that rut. It's hard to get out of that and turn it around."
Proven talents such as All-PCSC outfielder Briana Knight and senior classmate Kristin Welsh should provide this young team with offensive production and maybe more importantly, some leadership on 'Opening Day' February 9 at UTEP.
Knight may be the best outfielder in the entire conference. She hit .413 as a junior last year, with eight homeruns, an on-base percentage of .505 and slugged .853. , Those numbers were team-bests last season. She also played error-free defense.
If the fresh arms of Theis, Bautista-Geiger and lefty Briana Rios can come in and give Santa Clara quality innings, there is little doubt the Broncos will improve on their 18 percent winning percentage from 2011.
"If this group recognizes they have the talent – which they do, exude some confidence out there and be consistent, things will go our way," says Mize. "We should have a good season. Again, that will depend on consistency and confidence and how well they deal with pressure situations and adverse situations."
June 25, 2012 Leaving a Legacy
April 29, 2012 SCU's Briana Knight Enjoys Seven-RBI Game On Senior Day
April 23, 2012 Future Looks Promising for Briana Rios and Bronco Softball
April 22, 2012 St. Mary’s Takes PCSC Series from Santa Clara Softball
April 18, 2012 SCU Softball Drops 10-2 Decision to Nation’s No. 1, Cal
April 10, 2012 Six Road Games Will Test Santa Clara Softball This Week
April 7, 2012 SCU Softball Drops Close Games to Sacramento State
April 6, 2012 Pitching Dominates Friday's Doubleheader in Sacramento
March 31, 2012 SCU Softball Stuns League-Favorite LMU in Conference Opener
March 28, 2012 No. 13 Stanford Pulls Away from Santa Clara, 9-2
March 25, 2012 Santa Clara's Rally Falls Short against UC Riverside Sunday
March 23, 2012 Santa Clara Edged by Brown and CSU at UCR Invitational
March 17, 2012 Iowa State Tops Santa Clara in Softball Saturday, 6-2
March 16, 2012 Santa Clara-Iowa State Softball Will Play at 4 p.m. Saturday
March 11, 2012 Briana Knight’s Slam Lifts Santa Clara in Tournament Finale
March 10, 2012 Bronco Softball Edged by Gaels and Gauchos on Saturday
March 7, 2012 JMU Rallies, Claims Doubleheader Over Santa Clara
March 3, 2012 Santa Clara Softball Just Misses Upset at San Jose State
February 26, 2012 Carissa Theis Punches Out 13 as SCU Softball Wins Again
February 25, 2012 Team Effort, Freshmen Provide SCU Softball With Clutch Win
February 24, 2012 Seattle Rallies Twice to Beat Santa Clara Softball In Extras
February 23, 2012 Bronco Softball Excited About Their Weekend Games in Moraga
February 21, 2012 UC Davis Escapes With 3-2 Victory, Spoiling SCU Softball’s Home-Opener
February 18, 2012 SCU Softball Drops First Two at Fresno State’s ‘Weekend Series’
February 17, 2012 Offense Has Been an Early-Season Spark for SCU Softball
February 12, 2012 Santa Clara Drops Tough 5-4 Decision to Unbeaten UTEP
February 10, 2012 Santa Clara Softball Tops Rival in Early-Season Tournament Play
February 9, 2012 Wallis Homers for Santa Clara in Season-Opening Setback to UTEP
February 6, 2012 SCU Softball 'Opening Day' is Thursday, Feb. 9 in El Paso
December 15, 2011 Join Bronco Softball for the Annual Crab Feed on Friday, Feb. 3!
December 5, 2011 Senior Kristin Welsh Helps Lead SCU Softball Into 2012 Season
November 11, 2011 SCU Softball Alumni Game Moved to Feb. 4, 2012
November 3, 2011 SCU Broncos Announce 2012 Softball Schedule
October 14, 2011 Fall Ball: Incoming Players Infuse New Energy Into Bronco Softball
September 19, 2011 Bronco Softball Releases 2011 Fall Schedule, Practice Begins Oct. 4
July 20, 2011 Santa Clara Softball: Walk-On Tryout Announcement