Rachel Barker (center) tags a teammate rounding third base during practice for the Humboldt State University softball team on Feb. 13. Photo by Diego Linares.

Softball team looking to strike in CCAA

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Fresh off of a devastating defeat in last year’s Division II National Championship tournament, the young Humboldt State softball team is looking to make a statement as the 2018 season begins.

The Jacks were 44-15 overall last season and boasted a 22-11 record within the CCAA conference, which was good for third place. However, the women’s season came to a close with a 5-1 loss to Armstrong State University.

Despite losing their entire infield to graduation, there is certainly reason for optimism in the 2018 season for the Jacks as they have an impressive new group of starters.

The team was ranked third in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Coach’s Poll.

This Jacks team has not necessarily gotten off to the start that they wanted as they are 4-5 after going 2-2 in a four-game series against Cal State Dominguez Hills.

The Jacks lost their first two games of the series in a doubleheader on Friday by the scores of 5-0 and 9-6. However, on Saturday they responded by winning 4-2 and 13-9 in that order.

The Jacks may have found their stroke during the latter game of their doubleheader, as they exploded for 19 hits and 13 runs against Dominguez Hills despite being down 9-5 going into the top of the seventh inning.

The Jacks put up eight runs in the last inning and were led by third basemen Rachel Barker, who went 4 for 4 with a home run and four RBI.

“Every game we’ve played we’ve gotten better.” Barker said. “Now that we’ve played with each other we know how to motivate each other, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get (our record) under control.”

However, the inning started with designated hitter Micaela Harris doubling in the left-center field gap.

“I think I started the hype of the inning,” Harris said.

The Jacks will look to use the hype from that magical seventh inning to propel them up the standings in the coming weeks.

They will start a four-game series with UC San Diego on Friday, as they play their first game of the series at noon, followed by game two at 2 p.m. The series will conclude on Saturday, with game three being played at 11 a.m. and game four at 1 p.m.

In their series last year, the Jacks split the four-game set with the Tritons down in San Diego. The Jacks will hope that the cold, cloudy weather of Arcata will give them the advantage they need to take the series this time around.

Despite the sluggish start, the Humboldt State softball team is hungry and has the momentum that is crucial in having a successful season.

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