Softball preps for senior weekend

By Josh Lucas Daily Barometer
Softball team

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

Mikela Manewa already has plans for after her senior year of Oregon State softball is over.

The senior second baseman was selected in April in National Pro Fastpitch Draft by the Scrap Yard Dawgs from Conroe, Tex., where she’ll continue her softball career even after she plays her final game in a Beaver uniform.

But Manewa isn’t concerned about that right now. Same with OSU’s likely berth into the NCAA Tournament for Manewa’s first time ever and the team’s first appearance since 2013.

First, she gets to spend Senior Weekend in Corvallis facing Arizona State, starting this Thursday in Corvallis at 3 p.m.

“I want to go out on a high note in every single game, but I guess this game is it,” Manewa said. “This will be my last game. I don’t really like to think about it. I just like to think about one game at a time.”

The NCAA Tournament’s Selection Sunday is the day after Saturday’s series finale, and the Beavers know how significant this weekend is for the postseason.

The Beavers have scraped together a solid resume for the NCAA Tournament. With a winning record in hand — only three Pac-12 teams have ever missed the postseason with a winning record — and a No. 25 spot in the RPI rankings, OSU is well on its way of ending a two-year tournament drought. OSU will likely not be one of the 16 teams in the nation hosting a regional starting May 20, but the Beavers could still improve what bid it does end up with depending on how the ASU series goes.

“I feel pretty comfortable with where we’re going, but I’d feel a lot more comfortable with a series sweep,” said head coach Laura Berg.

“That’s been our goal since week one of fall, is to get back to the postseason where we should be and show the country what we’re capable of,” added senior pitcher Bev Miller.

ASU is 6-15 in Pac-12 games, just one game behind OSU in the conference standings, but the Sun Devils got half of those six wins last weekend against 0-21 Stanford. Before beating Stanford three times, ASU stumbled through a 12-game losing streak.

The Beavers, meanwhile, have remained steady. Though OSU hasn’t won any of its four series since the Stanford games in early April, the Beavers have taken one win against each No. 13 UCLA, No. 10 Washington and No. 18 Arizona.

ASU may have slumped significantly from last season’s 12-11 finish in the Pac-12, but OSU still has to be way of the Sun Devils’ bats: ASU ranks second in the conference with 455 hits, third with 62 home runs and fourth with a .327 batting average.

“They’ve got a lineup that can hit,” Berg said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re slumping or not, they’re going to come in here and fight for the postseason.”

“We’ve faced pretty much every type of batter we possibly could have this season already,” Miller said. “We’ve been primed to do everything we need to do.”

Pitching, however, is a different beast for the Sun Devils, whose 3.90 earned run average ranks higher than only Stanford. Nobody allows more home runs than ASU, either: 57 round-trips have been handed out by the Sun Devil pitching staff.


Senior sendoff


Miller and Manewa are the only two graduating seniors on the squad — catcher Sammi Noland is redshirting this year and will use her final year of eligibility next season — and both will have their families in Corvallis to watch their final home games of their careers. Manewa’s family had to make an extra long trip for the games, all the way from Kapolei, Hawaii.

“I’m really excited because my family is here,” Manewa said. “They never get to see me play because they’re an ocean away, but it’s really exciting to have them here.”

Miller doesn’t think the feeling of ending her career will be too hard to handle, though she admits its hard to tell until Saturday comes.

“I’m not an emotional person, but it depends on what my parents do,” Miller said. “If my parents cry, I’ll probably cry. It’ll be weird leaving this complex knowing I’ll never play a game here again.”


Tinkle Toss


The ceremonial first pitch of Thursday’s game will be thrown by OSU head men’s basketball coach Wayne Tinkle, fresh off his second season in Corvallis and an NCAA Tournament berth. Coach Berg said it will be “very fun” to have him at the game, but Berg is most curious if Tinkle will shoot the softball with his basketball shooting motion or underhand it like a real softball pitcher.

“Is he going to shoot it underhand or is he really going to shoot it?” Berg said. “I don’t know, we’ll see.”

Manewa is more concerned with the height disparity between her and the 6-foot-10 Tinkle.

“I’ve seen him around,” the 5-foot-4 Manewa said. “Really tall dude. I’m about maybe to his hip.”


Was this article helpful?