Chico State softball seek a comeback


Naomi Monahan is a senior pitcher. She was named Second Team All-CCAA and All-West Region selection in 2018. She led all Wildcat pitchers in winning percentage (.938), second on the team in wins (15) and strikeouts (70), third in earned run average (2.83) and tossed four complete games and three shutouts. Photo Credit: Janna Weiss Photography

February is around the corner and that signals the start of the Wildcat’s softball season as they come back from winning their first-ever California Collegiate Athletic Association championship. Along with the National Collegiate Athletic Association West Region title that hadn’t been reached by any Wildcat squad since 2002.

After a successful season in 2018, the team looks forward to continuing to dominate another season. They left off the previous season with a 23-0 record at home and a 19-4 record on the road leaving them ranked seventh in the nation.

Luckily for the squad, they will only lose three starters this season and keep the remaining six. As for Letterwinners they will only lose five and keep 16, which will be a huge advantage later on in the season.

The top three returners from this season are seniors Ari Marsh, Wendy Cardinali and junior Kristin Worley.

Marsh is a two-time First Team All-CCAA selection in 2017 and 2018. Her most remarkable career record to keep track of this season is her career 114 runs batted in, which ranks her third in Chico State softball history.

Ari Marsh is a senior outfielder that led the Wildcats with career-high 70 hits while recording a team-best 20 multi-hit games last season. She also posted 10-game hitting streak from April 20–May 5.
Photo Credit: Janna Weiss Photography

Cardinali is a First Team All-CCAA selection and First Team All-West Region selection in the 2018 season. While also setting two Wildcats’ softball single-season records for her 58 runs scored and 53 walks. All while leading the team in on-base percentage at .471.

Wendy Cardinali is a senior infielder who, on top of many other accomplishments in 2018, was the chosen MVP of the season-opening Desert Stinger Tournament.
Photo Credit: Janna Weiss Photography

Worley is a two-time First Team All-CCAA and First Team All-West Region selection in 2017 and 2018. Her biggest accomplishment on the team last season was her .380 batting average, which led the Wildcats and ranked her third in the CCAA. She also had 35 stolen bases, which also ranked her third in the CCAA.

This dynamic trio looks to come back and take the NCAA championship this year. The addition of their top three incoming athletes will help in this campaign.

Two sophomore transfers, Brooke Larsen, Megan Krause and freshman Rachael Atkins look to add on to the already succeeding team.

Larsen is a transfer from the Academy of Art in San Francisco holding a record of 22-5 as a starter, striking out 217 batters in 187 innings. She batted .360 to earn First Team All-Pacific West Conference, First Team All-West Region and Second Team All-American honors. She has also been honored twice as Capital Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year and three-time Sacramento Bee’s First Team All-Metro.

Claire Wayne is a senior cather/third-baseman who started every game behind the plate for the Wildcats in 2018. While posting single-season career highs in home runs (9), runs scored (28), slugging percentage (.493), base on balls (42), and on-base percentage (.453).
Photo Credit: Janna Weiss Photography

Krause is a transfer from Kansas Wesleyan University, located in Salina, Kansas, holding a 13-10 record, striking out 151 batters in 148 innings. This earned her First Team All-Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference honors.

Atkins had a career-high at Liberty Ranch High School, located in Galt, California, earning a batting average of .461 her senior year. She led her team to two straight Sierra Valley conference titles and over her four-year varsity career she batted .411 with 37 extra-base hits.

With these new athletes, the softball team is looking bright and hopes to continue the momentum that was gained last season. This will be a long battle for returning coach Angel Shamblin, as adjustments to the new team dynamic will occur. It will be a collective effort and it will take time to build the same type of chemistry that took them to the NCAA championship finals in the 2018 season.

Lucero Del Rayo can be reached at [email protected] or @del_rayo98 on Twitter.