Drafted by surprise

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

As the Oregon State softball players prepared to board a flight for Los Angeles and the series against UCLA this weekend, the conversation turned to professional softball.

Mikela Manewa, the starting second baseman, is one of only two graduating seniors on the team but she laughed off the idea of playing in the National Pro Fastpitch League.

“I’m getting too old for this,” she said half-jokingly to her teammates.

Shortly thereafter, with Manewa’s phone turned off during the flight, she was drafted 40th overall by the Scrap Yard Dawgs of Conroe, Tex.

“As soon as I turned on my phone, I got a bunch of text messages,” Manewa said. “I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ The first one that I saw said ‘Congratulations.’ I was confused, so I looked at another text and my friend took a screen shot of the Twitter of the NPF. I was like, ‘What the heck?’ I didn’t know that was going to happen. The first person I showed was (head coach Laura) Berg. She was fist pumping, it was so funny. I was like, ‘coach Berg, let me know. I don’t know what’s going on!’ It was crazy.”

“I didn’t even know they were doing a draft.”

Manewa, who is in her second and final year at OSU after transferring from the College of Southern Nevada, has started 91 games with the Beavers and is batting .328 this year with 10 doubles, three home runs and 21 runs batted in.

“How awesome is that?” coach Berg said. “One of the owners of the team was texting me, asking if we had gotten to see it. I was like, ‘Oh crap, no. We just landed, but that’s exciting.’ I immediately tweeted it out. I’m extremely proud of her.”

“Me and Mikela have a really great friendship, so just seeing her get drafted is amazing,” added freshman outfielder Jessica Garcia. “I’m happy for her.”

Manewa was an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention last year as a junior and has helped OSU secure a winning season this year and possibly the Beavers’ first NCAA Tournament berth since 2013. As for the professional softball career and moving to Texas, the Kapolei, Hawaii native will be in for some new experiences.

“I’ve never ever been to Texas,” she said. “A lot of people keep telling me its hot, but nothing compares to Hawaii because it’s hot and muggy. So I think Hawaii wins.”

Manewa was planning on getting a job after graduating, but getting drafted changes things. Now, she says, “all my summer plans are gone.” To go from a junior college to a Pac-12 school and now the professional ranks, Manewa has yet to fully take in the significance of the situation.

“I don’t think it’s hit me just yet because I’m so focused on this season, but when I do think about it on my off time I think it’s crazy that even happened,” Manewa said. “Not a lot of girls get to go play pro.”


2017 class announced

OSU officially signed three newcomers for the 2017 team on Tuesday who will be eligible next season.

The three players are Sierra Mark, an infielder from Las Vegas and a three-time Nevada Club State Champion, Stephanie Merwin, who garnered first-team all-conference honors three times as a utility player at Richland High School in Richland, Wash., as well as Fallon Molinar, an all-league player from Morro Bay, Calif.

The only graduating seniors on this year’s roster are second baseman Mikela Manewa and pitcher Bev Miller, and OSU addressed those areas in particular with one pitcher and three position players that can all play infield.

OSU already had one signee from the fall: Nerissa Eason, a pitcher from Grass Valley, Calif. Eason was ranked No. 12 of all high school softball players in the national in FloSoftball’s Hot 100 Class of 2016. She’ll be eligible to play next season in 2017 along with Mark, Merwin and Molinar.

The Beavers still have three series left this regular season before a potential NCAA Tournament berth, starting this weekend with a home matchup against Washington that starts Friday in Corvallis. The games will start at 1 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

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