49ers look to keep momentum going in return to San Diego

Long Beach State will face San Diego and San Jose State twice apiece this weekend.

Oscar Terrones, Staff Writer

Having won 13 out of its last 15 games, the Long Beach State softball team looks to continue its outstanding play as it heads back to San Diego for the San Diego Tournament.

The 49ers (20-8) went 4-1 in the San Diego Classic II last week, led by a combination of steady offense and strong starting pitching, which head coach Kim Sowder said she believes has been the most important part of the team’s recent success.

“Erin [Jones-Wesley] and Amanda [Hansen] have been doing real well,” Sowder said. “Both of them are pitching well enough to win.”
The offense, which leads the Big West in runs and batting average, added another 24 runs over the five games, which included a shutout loss to host team San Diego State.

Despite its recent success, Sowder said she believes the team can be better.

“We didn’t have our best games [over the weekend] offensively, pitching or defensively,” she said. “It wasn’t like we were lights out.”

The 49ers are still waiting on whether they’ll have one of their top hitters available for the weekend. Ashlynn Booker, who is tied for second on the club with six home runs, sustained a concussion during the first game of the San Diego Classic II.

As Booker was running to second base, the shortstop tagged the bag on second and hit Booker in the head with the throw. Sowder described the play as an accident.

“[The ball] ricocheted from five feet in front of second base off of her head and landed over in the third base dugout,” she said.
Sowder wasn’t sure when Booker would be cleared to play by the NCAA, which requires players who are diagnosed with a concussion to be symptom-free for 24 hours. After that, the player must pass a stress test.

“It’s a process,” Sowder said. “I know the doctor cleared her to go back to school today. You never know, it just depends how she feels.”

The 49ers will start the tournament Saturday with a double-header against host team San Diego (14-11) and San Jose State (15-11). They’ll play the same two teams the following day in reverse order. The 49ers played San Jose State 13 days ago in the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton and defeated the Spartans, 3-1.

The San Diego Classic will be LBSU’s final tournament before it starts Big West Conference play against UC Davis on March 29.