Courtesy of Toro Athletics
By Brian Hinchion, Staff Reporter
The CSUDH softball team will look to build off of last year’s 27-19 overall record and narrowly missing the CCAA postseason by one game.
The Toros head coach Jim Maier returns for the second season of his second stint with the team with expectations to pick up right where he left off. Maier is the winningest coach in CSUDH softball history and this year will be his 15th year at the helm for the program.
The team has not made the postseason since 2013. Maier explained his desire for the team in an open letter to the Go Toros website, as well as his ambitions for the players on and off the field this year.
“We strive to be the best Division II program in the country,” Maier said. “We find, teach, develop and graduate well-prepared student-athletes that will excel in the classroom, field, and their personal lives.”
The team adds seven newcomers and returns eight players from last year, with hopes to replace the offensive production from outgoing shortstop Jazmin Guzman and Amanda Canizales, who were both All-CCAA Second Team selection last season. However, the most vital player to replace production-wise from last year will be that of Damari Simon. Simon put together a prolific 2019 campaign that included starting all 46 games and hit .359 with nine doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 44 runs scored and 38 RBI. Simon was named as an All-CCAA First Team selection and ranked fourth in the conference with home runs (9) and walks (33), fifth in RBI (38), and sixth in runs scored (44).
The team finished third in the CCAA in batting average (.293). The Toros also proved to be nifty at swiping bags racking up 77 on the year, third-most in the CCAA accompanied with a great stolen base percentage converting at an 84 percent clip.
Perhaps the best aspect of the Toros game from last year was their fielding. Flashing the leather proved to be no problem for the Toros, finishing as the best team in the conference in fielding percentage (.968) last year and committing the least amount of errors (41) in the CCAA.
For all of the Toros success with their bats, gloves and speed on the basepaths last year, their pitching ranked in the bottom half of the CCAA statistically. Returning junior pitcher Alyssa Olague will look to anchor the Toros staff again this year coming off a 2019 season where she finished 10th in innings pitched (135.2), and eighth in wins (12) and strikeouts (91) in the CCAA, and a team-leading 3.56 ERA.
The Toros begin their 2020 season in Irvine at the Concordia Kickoff Classic with a doubleheader against Azusa Pacific and Hawaii Pacific University respectively on Jan. 31. The Toros home opener is slated for Feb. 14 at Toro Diamond.