Cal U softball team embraces early perfection
College Football Videos
Success is nothing unusual for the California (Pa.) softball team. A 14-0 start, though, is new territory.
“It's been unreal,” said freshman pitcher/first baseman Lindsay Reicoff, a Chartiers Valley graduate. “We go into each game with the same mentality, like it's the championship game each time you play.”
Cal, ranked 12th in the country, is one of three unbeaten teams in Division II. Coach Rick Bertagnolli, who has won two national titles and owns a 681-221 record during his 20 years at Cal, admits the career-best start has caught him off guard.
“That's a huge surprise for any coach in any sport,” he said. “You go out to win every game, but it just doesn't happen considering the competition you play.”
The Vulcans, who open PSAC play against Mercyhurst on Wednesday, have outscored opponents, 99-32. The 15-player roster features no seniors and seven freshmen, several of whom are playing key roles.
Reicoff leads the team with a .500 average, three homers and 15 RBI. Pitcher/outfielder Alex Sagl is 6-0 with a 0.71 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 392⁄3 innings.
“We're not looking to sit freshmen,” Bertagnolli said. “We had hopes for a number of them to play well. So far, they've gone above that.”
The Vulcans' balanced lineup also includes sophomore shortstop and Waynesburg graduate Breanna Morris, who has two homers and 13 RBI.
“It's a true team concept,” Bertagnolli said. “Obviously you have to have some luck and breaks to be undefeated. Everyone has contributed. It's come from up and down the order, off the bench.”
Cal has established itself as one of the premier D-II softball programs in the country, reaching the NCAA Tournament in 17 of the past 19 years. That tradition, along with the coaching staff, allows the program to go head-to-head with Division I programs for some of the top recruits.
Sagl, a native of Oakville, Ontario, said she chose Cal over Maryland and Siena. She's one of five Canadians on the roster, illustrating the imprint Bertagnolli has made over the border.
“A lot of people know who he is,” Sagl said. “He's overall just a great guy. He's taught me a lot already about my mental approach.”
Some regular-season losses probably are inevitable for the Vulcans this season. Bertagnolli is more concerned about the postseason.
“It's about championships, not winning games, but championships,” said Bertagnolli, who will be inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame this year. “It's pretty much a Western Pennsylvania thing anyway. All the teams are about championships and not winning games.”
Jeff Vella is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JeffVella_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Predators GM Poile: Penguins’ firing of Shero not fair
- Revised Butler Township rules won’t apply to Krendale Golf Course drilling
- Fay-West food banks feeling hunger pains
- New software expected to help Butler County collect fees
- Linebacker Harrison coming along slowly since return to Steelers
- Plan calls for closing all Butler city elementary schools
- Masontown bakery owner hopes for recipe for success
- Outdoor notices: Oct. 26, 2014
- Pirates acquire infielder from Indians, designate Axford, Gomez for assignment
- Voting reform pressed as money-saver for Butler County
- New office manager touts Greater Connellsville Chamber