Boise State softball starts 2020 season off with 4-1 record and looks to keep it rolling

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After finishing fifth in the Mountain West last season with an overall record of 36-16 and a 12-12 record in conference, Boise State softball is looking to build on a good season and potentially take the 2020 Mountain West conference title. 

The Broncos only lost three seniors to graduation last year, giving them an older and more experienced team. This team, with seven seniors compared to three last year, has many veterans to help make a strong push to the top of the Mountain West standings. 

“We are pretty excited. We have a big senior class and a lot of veterans that know what it is supposed to look like,” said head coach Maggie Huffaker. 

Boise State introduced Huffaker as their third new head coach in program history last year. She helped lead the team to its second-highest total number of wins and second-highest single-season winning percentage in their 2019 season. 

“This is a completely different year,” Huffaker said. “The Mountain West has changed drastically and it is still going to be super competitive so we are just trying to focus on getting better every day, every single practice, every single weekend and every single game so we are prepared for the Mountain West.” 

From Feb. 6-8, the Broncos played their opening games of 2020 at the NorCal Kickoff. They faced UC Davis, Saint Mary’s College of California and Santa Clara University in Davis, Calif., then traveled to Sacramento, Calif. to face Sacramento State and UC Santa Barbara.

The Broncos won all three of their games at UC Davis, including a 4-0 shutout against Saint Mary’s thanks to outstanding pitching performances by senior Kelsey Broadus and junior Hannah Bailey. Boise State won their second game 11-6 against Santa Clara, featuring the season’s first home run from sophomore catcher Serena Huchingson. Lastly, the Broncos beat UC Davis 9-3 with junior infielder Alison Seng missing the cycle by only a double.

The second set of games in Sacramento were split 1-1 for the Broncos. Boise State won the first game against UC Santa Barbara 8-0 with two home runs by junior outfielder Ashlyn Adams and Huchingson. The second game, however, did not go in the Broncos favor as they fell to Sacramento State. They managed to come back from a 3-0 deficit to take it to an extra inning, but ended up losing in the bottom half thanks to a walk-off.

Coming off of three seniors graduating, the Broncos brought in a few younger players to fill the roster. One of these players is infielder Bella Rocco from Fontana, Calif. She played third base all throughout high school for Jurupa Hills High School and, just like many other freshmen, Rocco looks to her fellow seniors for guidance. 

“They are really great role models. They taught me what to do, especially coming in nervous as a freshman,” Rocco said. “You go to some schools and they can get on you if you do something, but this team gets to me by their motivation rather than them getting on me.”

One senior who takes the leadership of the Broncos is pitcher Broadus. Last year she led the team with a 15-7 record and an earned run average of 3.01 in just 29 games with 21 starts. 

The year that stuck out the most for Broadus was her sophomore year. She won a total of four awards: Mountain West Pitcher of the Year, All-Mountain West First Team, NFCA All-Pacific Region Second Team and Mountain West Pitcher of the week in May. But the biggest reward she gained out of her first three seasons was her sisters on the team. 

“Our senior class is super tight. We hang out off and on the field all the time since we all started playing here,” Broadus said. “Even Bradie Fillmore after she transferred here because most of us already knew her. Having a senior class like that helps with the shared leadership.”

From Friday, Feb. 14 to Sunday, Feb. 16, the Broncos will head south to Tempe, Arizona to play in the Littlewood Classic. The tournament will feature the two powerhouses of Arizona State University and University of Kentucky, as well as Illinois State and Detroit Mercy. 

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