The Cal State Bakersfield softball program has endured a lot of instability between 2019 and now. Just three players — Cydney Curran, Samantha Pech and Kayla Tadewosian — remain from the 2019 iteration of the Roadrunners. The team played 14 games in 2020 and zero in 2021, and has struggled to find its footing this season with an inexperienced roster.
But one thing has remained constant for the Roadrunners: the double plays.
In 2019, CSUB tied with Hofstra to lead the nation in double plays per game, with both teams turning 33 in 47 contests. That year, the shortstop Curran was involved in 13, teaming up with first baseman Nicole Curry (23), second baseman Chris Hipa (17) and third baseman Paige Johnson (12).
Amid all the turbulence of their last few seasons, the Roadrunners have maintained that opportunistic infield defense. This time it's Curran, now a sixth-year senior, teaming primarily with second baseman Samantha Martinez as CSUB is in sole possession of first place in the same statistical category, with 24 in 39 games.
On March 31, the Roadrunners met their closest competition, Santa Clara, in a doubleheader. Each team picked up one double play on the day, falling short of their per-game averages of 0.62 and 0.61.
Rapid change: Before Gyasi Zardes was a 10-year MLS pro and a Gold Cup star for the U.S. men's national team, he was CSUB's biggest star in its Division I era, leading the Roadrunners to their first NCAA Tournament appearance with his 18 goals in 2011. Zardes parlayed his stint in Bakersfield into a career as a Homegrown Player with the LA Galaxy before getting traded to Columbus in 2018. After winning the cup with the Crew, the Hawthorne native went on the move again on April 22 and has arrived with the Colorado Rapids, debuting the following day against Charlotte. With 88 career goals, Zardes will hope to revitalize the offense of the mid-table Rapids.
New heights: The CSUB women's basketball team made a big acquisition Tuesday, its first of the offseason, as coach Greg McCall looks to replace a slew of veteran leaders. Center Shayley Harris will join the Roadrunners as a transfer from Santa Clara, where she averaged 2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds across 45 career appearances — she played seven minutes against CSUB on November 27. Harris, a Folsom native who initially played for UCLA out of high school, is listed at 6-foot-6 and will therefore be the tallest player the team has had since entering Division I (at least). She will compete for minutes in the paint with returnees Soli Herrera, Kayla Morris, Hennie van Schaik and more as the team looks to replace departing Big West Conference Sixth Player of the Year Vanessa Austin.
Setting the table: CSUB's No. 1 beach volleyball pair already announced new destinations for their final year of eligibility, and now so has the Roadrunners' top indoor player from last season. Seleisa Elisaia, who earned First Team All-Big West honors in 2021, will join Penn State next season as the Nittany Lions aim to replace a pair of transferring setters. Elisaia was a major contributor for CSUB from the moment she arrived in 2018, and that culminated when she came back after a canceled 2020 season to average 9.23 assists per set in 2021. She left her mark on the program's record book in a variety of categories but was particularly noted for her uncommon attacking ability for a setter; Elisaia was the only player in the nation to average over nine assists and 1.3 kills per set in 2021, highlighted by a 10-kill performance at UC Davis on Oct. 7.
A beginning for Jannis: Mickey Jannis is no stranger to independent baseball. The knuckleballer, who started CSUB's first-ever baseball game in 2009, didn't last long in the Tampa Bay Rays organization but worked his way up to MLB with the Baltimore Orioles after stints with the unaffiliated Lake Erie Crushers, Bridgeport Blue Fish, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and Long Island Ducks. This season, he can add the Chicago Dogs to that list.
The Dogs, based in Rosemont, Ill., in the American Association of Professional Baseball's East Division, have a unique Bakersfield connection. The team is managed by Butch Hobson, a former MLB player and manager, primarily with the Boston Red Sox, who moved to Bakersfield in the late 2000s to be closer to his wife's family. While there, Hobson helped coach at Stockdale, which featured his son K.C., who turned into a star first baseman. The Hobsons helped lead the Mustangs to two Central Section championships. K.C. spent nine years in the minor leagues before eventually reuniting with his father on the Dogs in 2020.
Two more local connections: Jannis is the cousin of current CSUB softball pitcher Kaycie Kennedy. And the Dogs' roster already features Harrison Smith, a Frontier and Bakersfield College alum who played at Oral Roberts.