Softball coach gets 400th career victory in Florida
March 23, 2007
Every spring break during head coach Faye Perkins’ tenure, the Falcons softball team has been involved in an out-of-state conference tournament, but this year the team accomplishments were special in more ways than one. The Falcons not only had one of its best finishes, completing the 10-game round-robin tournament in Florida with a 7-3 record, but also secured head coach Faye Perkins 400th career win in the process.
The milestone came in a 4-3 victory over the Coast Guard Academy on March 11 in the Falcons second game of the annual Rebel Spring Games in Kissammee, Fla. The win came in a closely-contested game the Falcons won in the bottom of the seventh inning when third baseman Emily Howlett doubled to lead off the inning and scored on outfielder Amanda Peters sacrifice fly after taking third on a wild pitch.
Howlett was unaware the win was Perkins 400th until after the game, but said the dramatic fashion in which it occurred was, “pretty amazing.”
Perkins was first made aware of her accomplishment when she talked to her husband on the phone after the game.
Junior captain Brittany Rathbun was credited with the win in that game after coming on in relief of Ashley Bertrand to pitch a scoreless top half of the seventh.
Faye’s husband, Joe, told Rathbun and Bertrand before they left for Florida that Perkins was one win away from 400, Rathbun said.
“Any milestone like that is a great achievement,” Rathbun said. “She’s a great coach.”
Perkins credited others for her milestone.
“Looking back on that, it makes me think of all the players that I’ve coached,” she said. “It’s about the accomplishments of my athletes. I’d like to go back and thank all the players I’ve coached.”
Perkins has coached the UW-River Falls softball team for 19 seasons beginning in 1989, compiling a career record of 363-319-2 with the Falcons. She said her most memorable victories came in the 1993 and 1994 seasons when her teams earned back-to-back WIAC championships and berths to the Division III NCAA tournament, she said.
Perkins also coached two seasons at Tarkio College in Missouri before coming to UWRF. Her overall record stands at 406-341-2.
Perkins is not one to focus on individual accomplishments and said one of the primary goals of the team this season is to break the single-season school wins record.
“I definitely feel we have the ability to accomplish that goal,” she said.
Perkins wasn’t quite sure what to expect from her team this season.
“Practicing indoors [at Knowles], it’s hard to judge how a team will do once they get out on the field,” she said.
Once they finally did get the chance to take the field, the team started the season 4-0, sweeping both Carlton and St. Cathrine, outscoring them 32-6. That streak carried over into the team’s trip to Florida, outscoring opponents 39-19 during the tournament.
Perkins credits a solid core of returning players with her team’s early success, lost no graduating seniors and only losing one starter, outfielder Amanda Wojnowiak, who led the team with a .359 batting average last season.
“We are just continuing to build on the team from last year,” Perkins said. “An 11-3 start is great, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
Another reason for the Falcons’ great start is pitching, Perkins said. The team’s ERA is 1.00 through 14 games. One of main reasons is the performance of Bertrand, whose ERA is currently 0.59 through 47 and two-thirds innings pitched.
“Bertrand is much more relaxed out there and in control of her game,” Perkins said.
As a whole the team’s confidence is very high right now.
“This is probably the best start we’ve had in a few years,” Rathbun said. “Hopefully we can keep it up and do well.”
Perkins is still cautiously optimistic and has forewarned her team that this is the easiest part of the season. The real test will be conference play, she said.
The Falcons have one more four-game round-robin tournament on Saturday and Sunday before beginning conference play at home against UW-Stout on April 3.