June 18, 2007
Stanford, Calif. -
At the conclusion of the 2007 collegiate softball season, the Stanford Cardinal can look back on another successful campaign. The squad posted its 11th consecutive winning season with a 35-21-1 overall record, earned an NCAA berth for the tenth-straight time and advanced to the Regional Championship.
The Cardinal began with an outstanding preseason, which accounted for much of the squad's 26-6 non-conference regular-season record. The Cardinal began the season with a 3-2 record at the competitive Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix, Ariz. and kicked off its longest winning streak of the year with a run-rule decision over Northwestern State.
Stanford won its first of three home tournaments in mid-February, as the Cardinal dropped just one contest over the three events. Stanford also claimed a tournament title at the FIU/Adidas Invitational in Miami, Fla., where Missy Penna pitched back-to-back one-hitters, went 23.1 scoreless innings, struck out 38 batters and contributed to four shutouts.
Stanford opened a competitive Pac-10 season with an exciting 2-1 victory over the then-No. 17 Oregon State Beavers. Despite facing the most challenging conference schedule in the nation, the Cardinal managed to highlight the conference season with two wins over No.12 UCLA, a home victory over No.11 Washington and a 3-2 upset of eventual National Champion Arizona.
The Cardinal was rewarded with its tenth-consecutive postseason bid, and earned the right to play the first rounds on home turf at Smith Family Stadium. After a tough loss to Fresno State in the opening game, the Cardinal battled back to defeat Cal State Northridge to earn the right to play the Bulldogs again. Penna struck out 11 in a three-hit shutout, and led Stanford to the Regional Championship game. The Cardinal battled the No. 3 LSU Tigers offensively, recording nine hits, four doubles and a homerun, but fell in an 11-5 decision.
The Cardinal had much to be proud of in 2007, however. Freshman Alissa Haber got a fast and promising start to he college career, emerging as one of the top offensive players in the Pac-10. The Newark, Calif. native led the team in nearly every offensive category with a .365 batting average, 65 hits, 40 runs, 15 doubles, two triples, a .539 slugging percentage and a .455 on-base percentage. She was also one of the top three players on the squad with four homeruns, 23 RBI and four stolen bases. Her marks in batting average and doubles both ranked among the top-10 single-season marks in program history and her batting average, on-base percentage, hit total and doubles marks were among the best in the Pac-10. At the conclusion of the season, Haber became the 12th Stanford player and fifth freshman to earn an All-America honor, extending the streak to ten-straight years of Stanford All-Americans.
Haber wasn't the only Stanford freshman to make an immediate impact for the Cardinal. Freshman catcher Rosey Neill led the conference in pick-offs and was third in the conference with 16 runners caught stealing. Shannon Koplitz posted the fourth-best batting average on the squad and tallied nine doubles and three homeruns in her freshman campaign. Michelle Schroeder, a key pinch runner for the Cardinal, scored 11 Stanford runs.
Penna continued to show her dominance in the circle, finishing fourth in the conference in opposing batting average (.193), strikeouts (308) and wins (25). She notched 12 shutouts and threw her second career no-hitter against Saint Mary's on Apr. 11. The sophomore became just the second player in Stanford history to notch 300+ strikeouts in a single season and, just halfway through her career, moved into third place on the career K's chart.
Jackie Rinehart finished the year as one of the top-10 players in Stanford history in seven categories, including hits, triples, runs and stolen bases. The left fielder leaves Stanford with a career .341 batting average, third on the all-time charts.
Seven players earned All-Pac-10 honors and five were named to All-Academic teams at the conclusion of the season, while Haber and Penna both earned All-Region honors.
With 11 letterwinners, six All-Pac-10 selections and both pitchers returning for 2008, the Cardinal is ready to pick up where it left off.