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The Huntington University women’s softball team is gearing up for another season of play. But before they face the unpredictable spring season in Indiana, they’ll test out their skills in Florida’s warmer climate. Here with the story is the Huntingtonian’s Jan Boroff
The Forester’s softball team kicked off the New Year by starting practices for their upcoming season. For the past two months, HU has been conditioning, fielding grounders, strengthening their throwing arms and hitting off of pitching machines all in the confinement of the MPERC’s field house.
But this Friday, they will drive south to Florida and get their first taste of play in the fresh air.
Head Coach Doug Gower Shares his excitement about the upcoming season.
“I am really looking forward to this year. We’ve got a lot of returning players back from a squad that went 21-21 last year. Sure, we’re going to have things we’re not perfect at, but that’s what spring break is for.”
One area of weakness for HU is pitching. Junior Molly Long, freshman Marcie McDougle and sophomore Abby Dilling make up the small pitching staff.
Assistant Coach Pete Eckert believes that while the pitching may lack depth, they make up for it with their strength.
The coaches aren’t the only ones excited to stretch their legs out the field house.
Seniors Megan Smith, Alicia Willour reminisced about their favorite spring breaks while playing for HU.
“We have a very strong pitcher in Molly Long—All Conference—I think she lead the conference last year in strike outs, so she’s back for her junior campaign. We picked up a freshman—Marcie. She’s from Ohio. She’s coming in with a record of 18-2, so I think we could have a very strong team.”
The coaches aren’t the only ones excited to stretch their legs outside of the field house. Seniors Megan Smith and Alicia Willour reminisced about their favorite spring breaks while playing for HU.
“I enjoyed Arizona, but last year was a lot of fun too because we were right on the beach. Even though we play two games a day for four or five days, we got to go to the beach everyday, we got to go out dancing—kind of do what we wanted. We really get to mesh well together while we’re down there.”
Both coaches and players alike commented about how this teams chemistry is one of the greatest in the program’s history.
“Our team chemistry this year’s really great. That’s the most fun is the relationships and the fun that we have together. “
Defensively, the Foresters have a strong line up returning. Senior shortstop Aubrey Garner, sophomore third baseman Katie Bowers and Long return for the foresters after receiving all conference honors last year.
Other returning starters are second baseman Smith, a four-year starter, junior catcher Brita Kuiper and junior centerfielder Brandi Gower.
“We’re going to have a very strong defensive team. That’s something that we haven’t had here at Huntington University. The last two years, we actually had a team that could field every position. We have some incoming freshman that will start for us. We have one—Taylor Amber—who was an Indiana All-Star last year as a senior in high school. We do have some talent that came in, so I think this is going to be our strongest team defensively that we’ve ever had at Huntington, with a strong ace in Molly.”
Gower said he is extremely pleased with the effort put forth by his team during spring training, and he couldn’t ask more out of the senior leadership on his team.
“They all seem to enjoy each other. I have great senior leadership with Aubrey, Megan and Alicia. They all lead by example because they all work extremely hard. I can’t be anymore pleased with them.”
For the Huntingtonian, I’m Jan Boroff