yote notes - edition 2
COMING UP: at Simpson Invitational, Redding, Calif. – Friday vs. Simpson, 11:30 a.m. (PT); vs. Holy Names, 2 p.m. (PT); vs. William Jessup, 7 p.m. (PT); Saturday vs. Patten, 11:30 a.m. (PT); vs. Biola, 4:30 p.m. (PT); vs. No. 8 Concordia-Irvine, 7 p.m. (PT)
SEASON OPENING AT SIMPSON INVITE: The Lady Yotes will kick off the 2012 season this weekend with six games in two days at the Simpson Invitational, held on the artificial surface diamonds at Big League Dreams in Redding, Calif. The C of I (along with the other six Cascade Conference schools) will face six squads from California (three from the California Pacific Conference, two from the Golden State Athletic Conference, and an NAIA independent – four of which are ranked or receiving votes in the NAIA Top-25 poll.
HISTORY AT THE TOURNAMENT: It marks the fifth time (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011) that the Yotes have competed in one variation of the tournament or another (as the venue has moved from Hayward to Manteca to Livermore to Redding). The C of I has posted a 12-9 all-time record in the event, including a 4-1 record in 2007.
FRIDAY OPPONENTS: The Yotes run the gauntlet of CalPac teams on Friday – including the top-two teams from 2011. Tourney play opens against host Simpson, the defending NAIA West Grouping champs and NCCAA National runner-up. The Redhawks (34-19 in 2011) are led by a pair of standout hitters in infielder Morgan Davis (.353 6 HR 32 RBI) and Nicki Reuerbach (.444 2 HR 26 RBI), along with their No. 1 pitcher Hayley Rodriguez (17-7 2.06 ERA). The teams have met six times, with the Yotes holding a 3-2 series edge. Game 2 is against Holy Names, as the Hawks (17-23) meet C of I for the first time since 2008. HNU returns a great battery in pitcher Stephanie Fairclough (10-13 2.76 ERA) and catcher Rachael Martinez (.333 3 HR 26 RBI). The C of I holds a 2-1 series edge. Day 1 concludes against William Jessup, the defending CalPac champions. The Warriors (28-18) will have a completely different look – as their head coach, their top two hitters and pitchers have all moved on. WJU does return talented first baseman Mallory Blodgett (.423 2 HR 17 RBI). The two teams met for the first time last year, with the Yotes winning, 8-5.
SATURDAY OPPONENTS: Day 2 of the tournament opens with NAIA independent, Patten, from Oakland, Calif. The Lions (11-21) return infielder Ashley Sponsler (.305 1 HR 17 RI) and No. 1 pitcher Tawni Bartels (4-8 7.10 ERA) from last season’s team. The C of I holds a 2-0 record against Patten, but haven’t faced the Lions since 2007. The middle game on Saturday pits the Yotes against Biola of the GSAC, a team The C of I defeated 9-4 last year. The Eagles (27-26) return a pair of two-way players in All-American CeCe Luster (.382 9 HR 66 RBI, 12-11 2.10 ERA) and Shaylynn Weststeyn (.272 1 HR 11 RBI, 7-7 2.92 ERA). It is the eighth meeting between the teams, with Biola leading the series, 6-1. The tournament closes against the No. 8 ranked team in the NAIA, Concordia-Irvine. The Eagles (47-13) have outscored their opponents’ 47-13 this season in going 4-0, thanks to the play of shortstop Amanda Fama (.380 16 HR 57 RBI), first-baseman Katie Carson (.361 9 HR 41 RBI), and second-baseman Jenna Jorgenson (.382 1 HR 42 RBI), along with pitchers’ Jennifer Simons (19-6 1.78 ERA) and Courtney Young (18-3 2.19 ERA). It is the sixth meeting between the teams, with CUI holding a 4-1 series edge.
SCHEDULE CHANGE: The Yotes have had an opponent change in next weekend’s Northwest Cup in Oregon, as The C of I will meet Lewis & Clark instead of Whitworth in Sunday’s opener at 9 a.m. (PT)
NAIA WEST / NATIONAL POLL: The CCC and the NAIA released their preseason rankings in mid-November, with the Lady Yotes picked to finish fourth in the seven team conference. Oregon Tech, which stunned the softball world by winning the 2011 NAIA National Championship, was the league favorite, followed by Corban, Concordia, the Lady Yotes, Southern Oregon, Northwest Christian, and Eastern Oregon. In the NAIA Top-25 – OIT claimed the preseason No. 1 spot, followed by Cal State-San Marcos, Oklahoma City, Central Baptist (Ark.), and Brenau (Ga.). C of I opponents’ Concordia-Irvine (No. 8) and Corban (No. 24) were in the Top-25, while five other oppoents’ – Dickinson State (N.D.), Concordia (Ore.), Biola (Calif.), Simpson (Calif.), and William Jessup (Calif.) all received votes. The Lady Yotes received six voter points in the preseason national poll – good enough for a tie for No. 42 in the nation heading into 2012.
ABOUT THE COACH: Al Mendiola is in his seventh year as head coach of The C of I softball program and holds an all-time record of 153-112 - the most wins by a softball coach in school history. The native of San Diego, Calif. has helped the Lady Yotes become a force in Northwest softball, leading The C of I to playoff appearances each year from 2006-09, including the 2007 and 2009 CCC regular-season titles, the 2008 NAIA Region I championship, and berths in the 2008 and 2009 NAIA Softball National Championships. Following the 2007 season, Mendiola was honored as CCC and NAIA Region I Coach of the Year after the Coyotes set a school record with 37 wins. Under his direction, the Yotes have been ranked as high as No. 14 in the NAIA Top-25 Coaches Poll. Outside of softball, Mendiola was the head coach of the Caldwell Silver Streaks American Legion baseball team from 1997-07 and has also assisted with the Boise Clippers men's fastpitch team. He was also an assistant coach for The C of I baseball team for seven years. A 1994 graduate of The C of I, Mendiola played two seasons of baseball for head coach Tim Mooney, earning honorable mention NAIA All-America honors as a senior. His wife, Liz, has been the head volleyball coach at The C of I for the past 11 years. The Mendiola's have two children, Aleah and Micah, and reside in Caldwell.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more information on The C of I softball program, head to the official homepage of the Coyotes, http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/softball.