You can't win 'em all, but softball Bears come close
Under the leadership of Coach Diane Ninemire, Cal has become a perennial powerhouse in intercollegiate softball
| 12 April 2005
|For news updates on Cal softball and schedules for 2005, see calbears.com and select “Women’s teams” from the menu bar at the top.|
"Growing up in a college town, you're a fan of the school and the teams," says Friedman. The Golden Bears softball squad "was my team, since I was 8 or 10 years old. I'd walk down Panoramic and watch the games and the practices."
(Peg Skorpinski photo)
Last fall, after two years as one of the Badgers' top players, Friedman transferred to Cal and returned to Levine-Fricke Field - this time covering second base for the team she once peered at through the fence, cheered from the stands, and even served, on occasion, as bat girl. To add to the irony and excitement of it all, she's back under the guidance of Diane Ninemire - the Cal coach who taught her the game, from the ground up, in softball summer camps.
"She definitely pushes us hard," she says of Ninemire. "She cares about us as a team, and as individuals, a lot. Even at practices, she expects us to be the best."
(Peg Skorpinski photo)
Now regarded as one of the perennial powerhouse teams, the Bears have made it to the Women's College World Series for the last six years - coming in second in 2003 and 2004 and taking the NCAA title in 2002. Six of Cal's current seniors were freshmen on that WCWS title team. This spring, on the verge of graduation, they're hungry for another trophy. So are the newer players.
"We have a whole infield full of seniors," says Friedman. "We have every single element of the game necessary to win: defense, pitching, offense, and speed."
So far, the season has brought a series of rainouts for No. 3 California, which enjoys a 35-5 record as of April 10. Ninemire, of course, is gunning for a second national title, though she's philosophical about taking it "one game at a time."
However the season pans out, she takes great pride in the fact that Cal can offer players like Friedman the "best of both worlds" - a great education and a great softball program. "Life doesn't get much better than that," she says.
Tickets to Cal softball home games at Levine-Fricke Field (east of Memorial Stadium, off Stadium Rimway Road) are sold at the gate, starting one hour prior to the opening pitch. Admission for regular-season weekend games is $8 for adults, free for seniors and youth 17 and under.