Bear Cubs softball looking for back-to-back playoff appearances

Dana Thomsen delivers strikes for five innings of shut-out softball against Diablo Valley College on Sophmore Day Tuesday April 22 at SRJCs Marv Mays Field.

Joseph Barkoff/Oak Leaf

Dana Thomsen delivers strikes for five innings of shut-out softball against Diablo Valley College on Sophmore Day Tuesday April 22 at SRJC’s Marv Mays Field.

Anthony Sosa, Staff Writer

The Bear Cubs softball team comes into the 2015 season with high hopes after making the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. Santa Rosa Junior College made it to the second round of California Community College Athletic Association Super Regional Softball Playoffs, finishing the season with an overall record 31-13.

Led by head coach Phil Wright and assistant coaches Mark Spaulding and Taylor Morgan, the team will rely on the five returning girls and 12 rookies to take charge and lead the Bear Cubs back into the playoffs.

“This is a completely different team; we have speed and really good pitching,” said Wright, who is entering his fourth season as head coach.

“They are young, mixed with freshmen and sophomores, who didn’t play last year, but they are all really good,” he said.

Sophomore Dana Thomsen established herself as an ace of the Bear Cubs’ pitching staff last year. Thomsen dominated on the mound, posting a record of 15 wins and only four losses.

“My goal is to be even better than I was last year, and to stay healthy,” said Thomsen, who missed a few weeks of last season, due to being ill with mono.

The Bear Cubs will lean on their pitching to guide their success this season. With Thomsen as the ace of the staff, two other pitchers will take the mound to help this year: freshmen Rachelle “Weezy” Butulia and Denia Vera. “Our pitching staff is as good as anybody’s in the Big 8 Conference, a very good 1-2-3 staff,” Wright said.

The team is also going to rely on Taylor Matthews at catcher and as a leadoff hitter – a rare combination – and Breanna “Bree” Doane will be another big contributor to the team this season. Doane, a freshman this year, will be the starting shortstop.

“I’m hoping to do really good, and to improve from how I did in my high school games, ” she said.

With the Bear Cubs making the playoffs last season, other teams will be gunning to knock down a team that showed so much promise and success last season.

“We’re no longer a sleeper team anymore, we have proved ourselves in the toughest conference in the state,” Wright said.

The softball team’s last and only championship was in 1982.

The Bear Cubs’ first game is at 10 a.m. Jan. 30 at home against Mendocino College.