Coyotes gear up for crucial softball series

Cal State San Bernardinos  softball team heads to Turlock for a four-game CCAA softball series against Cal State Stanislaus with the goal of taking the fourth and final spot in the 2008 CCAA conference championship tournament.

The Coyotes are one of three teams with a shot at the fourth spot. UC San Diego and Cal State Dominguez Hills both have a mathematical chance of being the fourth team as well.

The bad news is that CSUSB (15-11) is facing  the second-place Warriors (18-10) while the Tritons (14-14) are playing San Francisco State (12-16) and Dominguez Hills (13-15) is at cellar-dweller Sonoma State (3-23).

In 2007, the Coyotes entered the final weekend of play with a shot at the fourth spot in the conference tournament but wound up fifth behind S.F. State.

            After taking three of four games from Chico State this past weekend, the Coyotes are now 30-26-1 overall, the teams first 30-win season since 2002 when CSUSB won 32 games and narrowly missed a berth in the NCAA West Regional.

            First-place Humboldt State (21-7), a team which split with the Coyotes 2-2 in CCAA play, will host the conference tournament next weekend, the CCAA announced this week, and hosts Chico State (12-16) this weekend in its regular season finale.

            Cal State Stanislaus and Cal State Monterey Bay, which has finished its season at 18-14 after sweeping the Gators last weekend, have also clinched berths in the tourney.

            The Coyotes, picked for seventh in the CCAA in the coaches pre-season poll, is the top team in the CCAA when it comes to offense. CSUSB is batting .312 as a team with 57 home runs and 273 runs batted in 57 games.

            Senior Jordan Dahl (Vacaville) is the team leader in hitting with a .382 average in 57 games and is batting .440 in 26 CCAA games. She has 11 home runs and a team-leading 44 RBIs. She leads the squad in runs scored (48), hits (68),  stolen bases (22), and slugging percentage (.663).

            Freshman center fielder Priscilla Curiel (San Bernardino) is having a solid season, batting .295 overall with 10 home runs and 33 RBI and hitting .351 in CCAA play with eight of her homers and 19 of her RBI coming against conference foes.

            Sophomore Ashley Collinwood is hitting .327 with seven home runs, 13 doubles and 43 RBI. Senior catcher Nicole Camarena is batting .306 with 13 home runs and 35 RBI. Senior Jamie Lowe is batting .337 with three homers and 25 RBI overall and .347 in CCAA games.

            The team is 7-3 over its last 10 games.