Listen to the first segment of the Bear Republic Podcast HERE.
Listen to the second segment of the Bear Republic Podcast HERE
SAN FRANCISCO -- With most of the regular crew unable to return to The Republic, the Bear Republic Podcast invites former California offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz back as a special co-host this week, to talk spring football, baseball and yes, even the unanimous No. 1 Cal softball team.
Of course, any talk about the queens of the college diamond would be woefully incomplete without bringing back old friend Jace Williams, who joins the first segment for a midseason update as she and the rest of the Bears (37-1) prepare to face off against No. 13 Arizona in a three-game set this weekend at Levine-Fricke Field, which just doubled its seating capacity by adding 704 bleacher seats in the outfield.
In our first segment, Williams and I go through the superlative performances of Valerie Arioto and Jolene Henderson, who have combined to take home six weekly conference awards, with speedster Jamia Reid bringing home a Player of the Week award of her own on April 2.
Cal has three players among the 25 finalists for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, including Arioto, Henders and Reid, with no Bears player having taken home the award before. Arioto is also in the running for the Lowes Senior Class Award, and you can vote for her right here.
Arioto is tops the Pac-12 in home runs with 17, with freshman third baseman Danielle Henderson tied for fifth with 12 longballs. Arioto is two homers away from tying her 2010 output, and also two away from registering the most round-trippers in a season by a Cal player, which was set back in 2001 by Veronica Nelson, and tied by Arioto two seasons ago.
Danielle Henderson, with one more, would tie Haley Woods and Nelson for the fifth-most home runs in a season in Bears history.
Former Bears ace Kristina Thorson is in the news, as well, auctioning off an autographed sports bra on eBay, with the proceeds going towards breast cancer research. As of this printing, the sports bra is up well over $250, and with the help of you Cal fans, it can go even higher, and it all goes towards a good cause, so with two days left, go ahead and check it out.
In our second segment, we're joined by our old friend Jon Doss, calling in all the way from his new post at the ABC affiliate in Rochester, N.Y.
Along with Jon and Schwartz, we talk about all the latest happenings in Cal football and around the NCAA, finally settling on the slumping Bears baseball team and exclusive observations from inside the fence at Witter Rugby Field, as Cal tries to find replacements for Schwartz and the rest of the departing seniors.
After a foray into the latest happenings in baseball, we return to the gridiron and break down some of the youngsters making moves in spring camp, and to finish off our podcast, Rivals.com regional recruiting analyst Keith Niebuhr breaks down the Bears' latest commitment from Georgia defensive back Trey Cheek.
You can catch the softball team as they battle the Wildcats this weekend at 3 PM on Friday, 1 PM on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
The Cal baseball team begins a seven-game homestand with a three-game set against Washington, starting Friday at 2:30 with Michael Theofanopoulos on the hill, and continuing with senior righty Matt Flemer at 1 Pm on Saturday and junior lefty Justin Jones finishing off the series in a 1 PM start on Sunday.