COLUMBIA – Cali swag.
Often followed by laughter, the phrase is regularly heard from three Missouri softball players. It is a common theme in photos of these players. It is something to keep the Southern California girls warm on cold Missouri afternoons.
Missouri at UC Santa Barbara
WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Friday
WHERE: Campus Diamond, Santa Barbara, California
But don't ask coach what it means.
"I don't know nothing about Cali swag. I better stop at that," Tigers coach Ehren Earleywine said with a smirk.
The term entered the Missouri softball team's vocabulary when then freshmen Angela Randazzo (Poway, Calif.) and Kelsea Roth (Yorba Linda, Calif.) compared notes last year over their California beginnings.
"It started last year when me and Kelsea Roth were just messing around, and we just like thought we had a lot of California swag, so we just started saying it over and over again and eventually it just caught on," Randazzo said. "Then Sarah (Moore) joined in, so, I mean, we're the only three from California, so why not?"
Freshman Sarah Moore (Chino Hills, Calif.) played travel ball in high school with Roth and committed to Missouri the day after Roth did. They visited Missouri at the same time and hit it off ever since.
Moore, Randazzo and Roth's common bond is Cali swag, the word they use to describe a certain coolness factor about themselves. It's a way to describe their common California lifestyle and attitude. Cali swag has become a mantra for anytime the three players represent their home state.
"I wouldn't say we're different from anybody on the team, but we definitely live it up in California, going to the beach, obviously there's no beach here, so we just call it Cali swag," Moore said.
The three will share their home state with their team when Missouri makes a swing through California to open its season with a string of nonconference games.
Randazzo said they will be sure to show the team all the best places to shop and have fun. One night, the team will be having dinner at Moore's house.
Earleywine said he expects his California players to perform better since their families will be in attendance.
"I think, especially for girls, there's always that comfort zone of being around family and friends —not that guys don't feel the same thing," Earleywine said. "In coaching female athletes, it's always amazing how much better they do at home, around family and stuff like that."
On last season's California trip, Randazzo and Roth each hit a home run. Earleywine said Roth played "the best week of her entire collegiate career," going 4-for-8 with four RBIs.
"I know that my parents are here pretty much every game, and to see their faces is a little bit of a reassurance, so I think it's going to be great for them to get that same opportunity," senior Nicole Hudson said, who grew up about four hours from Columbia.