Softball, Sports, Women's Sports

LBSU softball team will travel to Las Vegas for the Easton Desert Classic

The Long Beach State softball team will head to Las Vegas Friday for three days and three nights with hopes of building upon their winning record in the Easton Dessert Classic

The 49ers get a rematch in the tournament opener against Utah after the Utes defeated LBSU 5-3 on Feb. 8. The tournament wraps up on Sunday with a match-up against Northwestern (2-3).

Sophomore catcher Lauren Lombardi leads the team in batting average, runs batted in and walks. The Stevenson Ranch catcher looks to continue her success in Las Vegas by remaining confident.

“It’s just really about getting comfortable,” Lombardi said. “I think my second year around, I know my teammates better. I’m feeling really good out there.”

Head coach Kim Sowder started senior right-hander Amanda Hansen in both games against Utah. Hansen had a stellar performance in game one, but Sowder pulled her after one inning in game two. Hansen gave up four hits and two earned runs in that inning before making way for the relievers.

“I won’t always [pull Hansen after one inning],” Sowder said. “[Hansen] had thrown a lot, and it was the first weekend, and they seemed to be on to her, and I need to see where my other pitchers are at this early on. Amanda is very capable of staying in games.”

When asked if she would start Hansen against Utah for a third time, Sowder said, “absolutely.”

Sowder is still studying her own team. She said she was closer to figuring out what the identity of this team is after last weekend’s games. The ninth year head coach will go to Las Vegas and do more of the same.

“We are really just focusing on our team and what we need to do,” Sowder said. “And that’s our goal: not to pay too much attention to who we’re playing [against].”

The 49ers play Boise State and their high-powered offense for their second game of a Friday double header. The Broncos scored a tremendous 39 runs in their first five games of the season and they have depth. Seven Boise State hitters have four or more hits on the season already.

“Boise State is a great team,” sophomore right-hander Christina Clermont said. “We’re excited to play them. We face teams all the same, though. Thinking they are all great hitting teams and we just go after them.”

The Mountain West preseason coaches’ poll picked Boise State, Nevada and Utah State to finish sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Northwestern will travel over 1,700 miles from Chicago to Las Vegas to face LBSU on the final day of the tournament.

The Wildcats, like Utah, are ranked mid-table in their conference. However, the experience they have of playing against nationally ranked teams every year makes them a dangerous opponent.

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