Softball team preps for season, sets goal of school wins record
March 1, 2007
The women’s fast pitch softball team is preparing to start the season this week with a doubleheader against Carleton College at the Rosemount Dome.
The Falcons finished the 2006 season with an overall record of 22-19-1, the tie being a game at St. Mary’s University, which was called after five innings on account of darkness. The team finished in a tie for seventh place after eliminating UW-Stout and beating UW-La Crosse in the WIAC tournament before being eliminated by UW-Oshkosh in a 2-0 loss. The Falcons’ final record in the conference was 5-9.
The team goal is to win 29 games to break the Falcon record of 28, Falcons head coach FayePerkins said.
UW-River Falls has not lost any graduating seniors from last season, but did lose outfielder Amanda Wojnowiak who transferred. Wojnowiak was one of the team’s most productive offensive players, leading the team in batting average, home runs, runs batted in and slugging percentage.
The core of the team will be returning along with some new faces. Tryouts were held in the fall and several incoming freshmen could make an impact, Perkins said.
Also returning will be junior pitcher Brittany Rathbun who was injured in August. “[Rathbun’s] worked extremely hard in rehab to come back 100 percent,” Perkins said.
Rathbun and junior Ashley Bertrand handled the bulk of the pitching duties last season. Bertrand started a record-setting 33 games, finishing the season with a 16-11 record and a 2.26 ERA. She also led the team in strikeouts with 124. Rathbun started eight games, but pitched mostly in relief, appearing in a total of 33 and had just a 1.85 ERA.
Both pitchers are returning, as is most of the starting lineup with the exceptions of Wojnowiak and outfielder Angie Quance.
The infield will most likely be comprised of sophomore Keri Feller at first base, senior Breamber Syverson at second base, junior Emily Howlett at third base, and sophomore Mindy Rudiger at shortstop. Syverson, Howlett, and Rudiger will be playing the same positions they did last season. Feller was the Falcons designated player last year and will be in her first year starting at first base. Senior Amanda Peters started at first last year before being moved to the outfield this year.
The outfield will consist of Peters, senior Michelle Kelley and sophomore Rachel Mathias.
Junior catcher Ashley James will be returning to start, but will have some competition from senior Margo Taylor and freshman Rebecca Troop.
Even with the departure of Wojnowiak, the Falcon’s offense is still above average. Peters, Feller, Howlett and Rudiger all batted over .300, and Rudiger won the award for best offensive player in 2006.
The team batting average was .286 last season, which was well over the league average of .254, but Coach Perkins said she would like to see it over .300 this year.
The team’s upcoming game will be a doubleheader against St. Catherine on March 7 at 6 p.m. at the Rosemount Dome. From March 11-16 the team will travel to Orlando, Fla. for the Rebel Spring Games, where the Falcons will compete against teams from all over the country.
The Falcons will take on UW-Stout in the team’s first conference game April 3.