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Reality strikes

Cal’s softball team was hoping the clean slate of the NCAA Tournament would be a chance to show that it is better its record indicates, but all it did was demonstrate what the regular season told us — that the Bears were a borderline NCAA Tournament team.

Cal did have a good win on the first day against Florida State on Friday, but losses to Tennessee Tech and 11th-seeded and host Alabama on Saturday ended the season. It marked the first time since 1998 the Bears haven’t advanced past the first weekend of the tourney.

Cal ended the season at 34-32, its fewest wins since 1987. The question is whether the Bears will bounce back and return to their usual level of national prominence next season. With only one departing senior and seven freshman, experience will certainly help. Cal will need improvement from sophomore Lauren Frankiewicz and freshmen Marissa Drewrey and Brittany LaRosa on the mound, where the Bears ranked last in the Pac-10 in ERA. More help may be on the way in high school standout Valerie Arioto from Pleasanton, who has signed to come to Cal next year.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.