Sports

Stanford not invited to postseason softball party

The Stanford softball team will be on the sidelines of the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years.

The Cardinal (30-25 overall) and Utah (31-24) were not chosen for regional play despite RPI's of 49 and 61 respectively. The Pac-12 Conference had five teams selected for the postseason and all five are seeded among the top 12.

Stanford played 28 games against 15 teams that were chosen to participate. The Cardinal was 2-13 against the five conference teams and 7-6 against everybody else.

It was a season of perseverance more than anything else. The Cardinal pitching staff took a big hit even before the season started when talented freshman Kelsey Stevens (15-7, 2.99 with Stanford last year) transferred to Oklahoma.

Stanford would have been able to overcome that loss had highly-regarded freshman Carley Hoover and sophomore Nyree White stayed healthy.

Hoover was 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in five starts and White allowed one hit in five innings, covering four appearances.

Freshman Madi Schreyer (22-14, 3.70) carried the majority of the lead, making 47 appearances, including 39 starts, for the Cardinal. She completed 24 of her starts.

Stanford turned to position players Kylie Sorenson, Tylyn Wells and Kayla Bonstrom to fill in. It was no surprise the Cardinal struggled in conference play, finishing in the bottom half.

The season was also a sign of good things to come, with the emergence of a freshmen class that made significant contributions right away. In addition to Schreyer and Sorenson, who led the team with a .363 batting average and 16 doubles, Bessie Noll started all 55 games, hitting .288 with three home runs and 24 RBI.

The 24 players who started at least one game are eligible to return next year. The two seniors, Corey Hanewick and Danielle Miller, were limited due to injury.

Nine players started at least 40 games and six started all 55. That's good news for a program used to competing in the postseason.

Sorenson was one of six Stanford players to average at least .317, score 31 or more runs, and collect at least 44 hits. Leah White, Erin Ashby, Hanna Winter, Bonstrom and Wells followed Sorenson.

Cassandra Roulund (.290) had 22 extra-base hits and Jessica Plaza (.283) tied for the team lead, with Ashby, with six home runs.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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