Senior Callie Nunes will resume her softball career at Concordia University Irvine this spring.
The 2017 Ceres High School grad had her junior season with the Eagles end prematurely due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The Pacific West Conference Executive Board voted unanimously on Nov. 12 to grant permission for the conference to announce return to competition dates and scheduling concepts for the spring semester.
“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” Nunes said. “We’ve been practicing the whole year with masks and social distancing. We’re hopeful we get to play. We already got one a season taken away.”
After a 10-month hiatus, the PacWest restarted conference play during the week of January 18 with men’s and women’s basketball.
The schedules for each of the PacWest sports will include in-pod games, dividing the conference into three pods – Hawai’i, Northern California, and Southern California.
Concordia, Azusa Pacific, Biola and Point Loma make up the Southern California pod.
The softball season will get underway in early March and run through April.
“The CCAA (California Collegiate Athletic Association) shut everything down fast,” Nunes said. “I’m very thankful Concordia and the PacWest have not done that. They’re giving us the opportunity to continue schooling and sports. I’m not ready to give up this stage of my life.”
No team practices will be scheduled during winter break.
“I’ve been home since Thanksgiving. I chose to do my classes online so I could stay home with my family instead of being alone at school.”Callie Nunes
“I’ve been home since Thanksgiving,” Nunes said. “I chose to do my classes online so I could stay home with my family instead of being alone at school.”
“My schedule hasn’t changed that much,” she added. “I have class. Then I pitch. It’s on repeat.”
Nunes compiled a 7-2 record with a 1.37 ERA and 76 strikeouts prior to Concordia’s 2020 campaign being canceled because of COVID-19.
A six-time All-American, Nunes entered her junior season ranked third in program history in career shutouts (22) and fourth in strikeouts (555). She’s tied for first in career saves (8).
“It (COVID) sucks,” she said. “You get a lot of opportunities taken away. But at the same time, everybody else is dealing with the same thing. The vast majority of citizens are feeling the same way. Regardless of political affiliation, they’re doing what they believe is right for the country. We’re going to come out of this stronger.”
Nunes helped lead Concordia to the Super Regional for the first time in program history, a 47-8 overall record and its second straight PacWest Conference title in 2019.
The Eagles claimed the West Regional championship and climbed to No. 1 in the NFCA West Regional rankings for the first time.
Concordia reeled off 18 straight wins heading into Super Regionals.
A finalist for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division-II National Player and Pitcher of the Year awards, Nunes was recognized by the Division-II Conference Commissioners Association, NFCA and PacWest Conference.
She was named the D2CCA West Region Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season. She earned first-team, all-region honors as well.
Nunes was selected to the NFCA First-Team All-Region Team for the second consecutive year.
She was also a repeat winner of the PacWest Conference Pitcher of the Year award.
Nunes tied for first in NCAA DII with 33 victories and was fourth in strikeouts (266) while posting a 1.34 ERA. She had four no-hitters.
Nunes was named to the 2020 Preseason All-PacWest Softball Team. Concordia was picked to finish first in 2020 PacWest Softball Preseason Poll by the conference’s head coaches.
Nunes was named PacWest Pitcher of the Week for the third time this season on March 2.
“I really want to finish my career and have one more season with the team,” she said. “The first goal is to play. The most important goal is to win. We want to show everybody else that hard work in difficult times will put you ahead in life.”
Granted an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19, Nunes hasn’t ruled out playing a fifth season of softball for Concordia in 2022.
But she’s currently leaning towards ending her athletic career following the 2021 season to focus on education.
“I just got accepted into the Masters Investigative Journalism program at Arizona State,” said Nunes, who will earn a bachelor’s degree in communications from Concordia in May of 2021. “My plan is to go there and finish my education. Sports are an added bonus.”