Softball chasing history midway through season

By Jac Rhine

HISTORY: Senior Marcie McDougle and the softball team are striving for the unchartered territory of nationals this season. (Photo Provided)

Senior Marcie McDougle and the softball team are striving for the unchartered territory of nationals this season. (Photo provided)

The university’s softball team has high hopes for this season after their  starting record of 10-7 as of March 30. Sophomore pitcher Kaylin Yon is confident in the team’s ability to make a strong run at the postseason.

“I feel like we have a lot of potential to go to nationals this year,” Yon said. “Last year, we finished third in the conference, and I think we could win conference this year and go to nationals. That potential is there.”

Yon attributes this potential to the improvement of the seasoned players combined with the talent of the youth on the roster.

“We’ve all gotten better,” she said. “The incoming freshmen are great. They’re great players, they’re great people. It’s fun to work with them, and we’ve grown closer, especially going to Arizona this past week.”

Head coach Doug Gower said that his team is seeking to make history.

“Our hopes for the season are to go to the national tournament for the first time ever,” Gower said. “We’re close, we’ve gotten as close as second and third in the conference. We feel we’re in a good position to either win our conference or our conference tournament in order to do that.”

The team recently traveled to Tuscon, Ariz.over Spring Break. They finished with a 5-4 record without having a full outdoor practice during the course of their trip. The Foresters went on to sweep Mount Vernon upon their arrival home and improved to 3-1 in Crossroads League play.

Gower said the Foresters are currently first in the conference in hitting, but sophomore Emily O’Leary said that it isn’t the only forte the team possesses.

“The team’s major strength would be its aggressive defense,” O’Leary said. “Another power that we have is that our team chemistry is great.”

Gower praised his senior leadership.

“All my seniors are off to a good start this year,” Gower said. “Lindsay [Shellabarger], Katie Knous—they all work and show leadership by example.  They really go out and prepare well.  They go out and give everything they have every game. They leave it all on the field.  They aren’t perfect, but they show the heart and desire that you need to play the game.”

The Foresters (10-7, 3-1) currently sit at second place in the Crossroads League behind Taylor University (20-7, 6-2) as of March 30. Their next conference opponent will be the University of Saint Francis at the Forester Softball Field at 3 p.m April 4. The Crossroads League Tournament begins April 30.

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