The Cypress Chargers Softball team makes its return to the diamond this February for the 2019 season. Expectations are high for this squad, but the season is just beginning.
With a new season for the Chargers softball team underway, head coach, Brad Pickler has a young and energetic team ready to play. Only two years removed from a perfect 48-0 record, this squad is eager to replicate that State Championship team. While statistics last year were very similar to the 2017 season, the record was the defining difference at 40-9. In the last two years, Chargers softball has dominated in their conference, which they share with Santiago Canyon, Santa Ana, Orange Coast, Fullerton, Saddleback and Golden West. Falling short one game of advancing to the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Championship game last year has instilled drive into this team and a goal for the new season ahead.
Standards are set high for this season, and are especially established through coach Brad Pickler who is entering his 32nd season for the Cypress Chargers softball team. In December, coach Pickler was recognized for his three decades of work in the field as a honoree for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame at the NFCA National Convention in Chicago. His track record of 1,300 career wins, nine CCCAA Championships, 23 Orange Empire conference titles and many more accomplishments builds promise in this inexperienced squad, consisting mainly of new freshman players.
One of the newest additions to the Chargers softball family is Eliza Sandoval (nursing major), a four year varsity letter winner at local Pacifica High School in Garden Grove- an impressive status for starting at a school who is known for their softball team. Before their first game at Citrus College, Sandoval was able to discuss the goals, roles of each players, and the big games that await this upcoming season. “One of our biggest goals and motivations this season is to be undefeated like we were in 2017,” said Sandoval, who, while not a part of that team, is reminded by the coaches that remember the perfect 2017 season.
While freshmen outnumber the 2nd year players, the team collectively decided to go without a captain for the 2019 season. “It is each players job to pick each other up and help each other out in our own ways. We are all leaders and have positive, inspiring things to say in times of need,” Sandoval explained. A team can have talent, but the chemistry of the players is what drives the success throughout the season.
Though last season is over, the Chargers softball squad still remembers their last playoff game against Palomar and is marking that date on their calendar. “We are looking forward to playing Palomar because they are one of our biggest rivals and took out our team last year during states,” said Sandoval.
As the Cypress Charger softball team prepares for another season on the field, the standards and expectation of success looms over the program. However, this success must begin with the start of a new season.