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Long Beach State softball team ready for the first pitch

The season will kickoff at the LBSU softball complex otoday at 10 a.m. against South Dakota.

Junior+utility+Jessica+Flores+warms+up+by+pitching+during+practice+Wednesday+at+LBSU+Softball+Complex.
Junior utility Jessica Flores warms up by pitching during practice Wednesday at LBSU Softball Complex.

Junior utility Jessica Flores warms up by pitching during practice Wednesday at LBSU Softball Complex.

Jose De Castro

Jose De Castro

Junior utility Jessica Flores warms up by pitching during practice Wednesday at LBSU Softball Complex.

Zulema Suarez, Staff Writer

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With the start of a new season just hours away, the Long Beach State’s softball team has nothing less than positive thoughts about what the future holds.

Head coach Kim Sowder expressed how excited she is for the beginning of the season. Sowder, going into her 11th year coaching LBSU softball, led the team with a 33-22 record for the 2016 season.

“The team has been working extremely hard since September when practices began,” Sowder said.  “I have a few key players that have had injuries recently that are getting close to being 100 percent  healed.”

Along with the excitement of a new season, Sowder will have added new players – which can help if there are any more injuries.

“There is some very good depth on the team and they push each other well,” Sowder said. “This has been the best year so far in regards to the weight room and conditioning, and I’m very excited to see how all our training transfers on the field during our games.”

The team lost one of its best hitters, Darian Tataulafua who graduated last May, but Sowder seemed at ease with the situation.

“We can’t replace her, of course, but we can reload the position she held,” Sowder said. “We always need players to be clutch RBI hitters and we have a lot of offensive potential.”

Sowder said one of those hitters is Lauren Lombardi, who is back this season after taking a medical redshirt year for a torn ACL.

Lombardi, who was out for most of last season with a torn ACL in her left knee said“It feels great being back,” Lombardi said. . “[The polls] look like most people are betting on my sister and I being a couple of the power hitters [on]the team which is a good feeling for me.”

Lombardi also mentioned that getting early season accolades only adds to her confidence.

“It’s great to know that people seem to have so much confidence in me even after an injury like this,” Lombardi said. “We also have a new pitching coach [who is] doing an awesome job. She works the pitchers hard. Of course, we miss the coach from last year, but a new coach brings a new perspective and a new outlook for improvement.”

Along with Lombardi making a comeback, Sowder said Summer Pohl and freshman Aniesa Maulupe, will add to the team’s offense.

Starting senior pitcher, Christina Clermont, also expressed her personal and team goals for her third and final season with the team.

“I want to focus on enjoying my last season,” Clermont said. “I want to give my team everything I have, leadership-wise, because they deserve that from me. As a team, I know we’re all striving for performing well [in the] postseason and winning Big West. We’ve worked very hard since fall and we’re super excited to start the season.”  

LBSU will get its season started when it hosts a doubleheader today against South Dakota. The first game will be at 10 a.m. and the second at 12:30 p.m.

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