For the Sam Houston State softball team, the 2008 season is already filled with great expectations. With two seniors to lead the way, the Bearkats are looking forward to trying to recapture the success of the 2007 season, as well as trying to advance further. According to SHSU head coach Bob Brock, the practices leading up to the 2008 season have proved to be promising. “We’re a pretty seasoned team, even though we’re young,” Brock said. Despite the youth on the team, their strengths are apparent. With a strong pitching staff as well as a strong defense and offense, the Bearkats were recently picked by the coach’s poll to win the Southland Conference softball championship again this spring. With all but one of their starters returning, the Bearkat softball team appears to be a force to be reckoned with. The 2007 season brought an amazing run for the softball team. With thirty-eight wins, it brought the second most victories won in a season for the softball team since 1993 when the Bearkats won 39 games. While in the beginning they struggled to find their stride, the Bearkats eventually pulled through for the SLC championship.”We had eight freshmen. They learned as the season went on, and they bonded,” Brock said.The team beat Texas State 1-0 to secure both a championship and a spot in their first ever NCAA Division I playoff appearance. When they arrived in College Station for their first regional playoff game, they lost 9-5 to Texas A&M University. However, a 2-1 win against Louisiana-Lafayette helped secure their first ever win in the Division I playoffs. Even though their second loss to Texas A&M University once again ended their hopes of advancing further, it left all the players and coaches on the team with even higher hopes for the next season. The lessons that were learned from the amazing success of last season can be seen as a catapult for the Bearkats. Considering that they still retain many of the players that participated in the record-setting season last year, this can be seen a strong advantage in their quest to repeat what was done and advance further. However, Brock is quick to note not to look too far ahead. “Just take it one game at a time,” Brock said.While to some, taking it one game at a time can seem like a long drawn out process, yet to a competitive player it is exactly the mind set to have. Though the season has not even begun yet, the Bearkats appear capable of repeating the magic of last season, and setting new records along the way. This year, the Bearkats have a chance to start off their season with a bang when they play Prairie View A&M University this Saturday. Last season, Sam Houston State won all four of their games against Prairie View, outscoring the Panthers 40-2. This is astonishing considering that out of four games played, the Bearkats allowed only two runs combined. The Sam Houston State softball team will be starting the 2008 season this Saturday, February 9, with a doubleheader against Prairie View at the Bearkat Softball Stadium. The first game will begin at 2 p.m. with the second following at 4 p.m.