GV softball has sights set high
The Grand Valley State University women’s softball team migrated south last week to begin their 2013 season in Florida.
After arriving in Clermont, Florida on March 2, the GVSU softball team played 12 games in six days, finishing with a 10-2 record against stiff competition, and flew back Sunday, March 10, just in time to resume classes.
“The schedule we played this year down here was the toughest that we have played teamwise,” said GVSU head coach Doug Woods, who is entering his 23rd season with the program. “That’s why I was real happy. Against good teams, we played well.”
The team went 88-of-307 from the plate for the trip, resulting in a collective .287 batting average, and raked in 60-runs, an average of five per game. Last year, GVSU’s team batting average of .348 was good for the sixth highest mark in the Division II ranks. The team’s 53 home runs, all of which were hit by players that will return this year, were also a GLIAC high.
Leading the charge will be senior designated player Katie Martin, who knocked in ten of those home runs last year. A former GLIAC Freshman of the Year, Daktronics player of the year and two-time All-American, her lifetime average of .431 heading into 2013 is a GVSU record. Joining her will be 14 other returning letterwinners from the 2012 team as well as eight fellow seniors, six of whom were starters last year. Despite being experience laden, leadership will be shared.
“I think we have great leadership,” Martin said. “The nice part is that we don’t really have a team captain necessarily, but every single person on our team leads in their own way, which is wonderful and very helpful.”
Center fielder Nellie Kosola, right fielder Emily Jones, second baseman Kayleigh Bertram and catcher Emily Holt – all seniors – will all be asked to resume their respective roles and depended upon to provide backbone production.
Juniors Briauna and Brittany Taylor will also return to the lineup this season and will be expected pick up where they left off. Briauna Taylor, team shortstop who had 13 homers of her own last season, will join up with the squad at the completion of the women’s basketball season. Brittany Taylor, who will be penciled in at left field, is returning after losing all of last season to an injury.
Juniors Tonya Calkins and Miranda Cleary round out the lineup, covering the infield corners at first and third base respectively.
Junior Hannah Santora, a third team All-American last year, went 6-0 in starts over spring break and will lead a pitching staff prepared to do their part. Junior Kayla Hurd, sophomore Sarah Wyse and freshman Sara Andrasik, who pitched well in her first outings as a Laker, round out the rotation.
Heading into conference play next Sunday at Urbana University and a March 27 home opener against the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, the Lakers are on track to once again be a title contender and will look to ensure that last seasons 45-15 record and a GLIAC-leading 24 conference wins were no fluke.
“Playing together as a team, getting the bats to work – obviously we did that this week,” Santora said. “If we were down in a game we always cheer each other to get back up and I feel it’s really just being together as a team which we really do great on the field.”
To achieve success this year, the team will focus on improving each day and maintaining focus on every game, at bat and pitch – and upon being competitive in the GLIAC softball conference.
“I just want to win a national championship and I think we have an excellent team,” Martin said. “I think we can go all the way. I think we’re all really excited to play right now and we have to keep that intensity through the entire season, especially during the postseason. We just have believe in each other and ourselves and we can get there.”
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