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Seniors reflect on softball careers

May 3, 2007

With the Falcons softball team nearing the end of the season, it will also mark the end of careers for three departing seniors.

Second baseman Breamber Syverson, catcher Margo Taylor and outfielder Michelle Kelley will all be ending their careers as Falcons with the conclusion of this year’s playoffs.

Syverson graduated from Prescott High School and is now majoring in health and human performance exercise and sport science with a minor in coaching.

She has been the starting second baseman all four of her years here and bats second in the lineup.

“[Syverson] has provided a lot of consistency,” head coach Faye Perkins said.

Syverson said she ended up playing second base because no one else could.

“It was the position that needed to be filled at the time,” she said.

After having fielding percentages of .925 and .926 her first two years, Syverson improved to .975 last year and is at .950 so far this season.

Offensively, she said she earned her place in the batting order because she had a special skill.

“I can lay down a wicked bunt,” she said.

Perkins has taken full advantage of Syverson’s bunting capabilities.

“[Her role is to] bunt the leadoff hitter into scoring position and she does a great job of that,” Perkins said.

Batting behind leadoff hitter Mindy Rudiger, who has a .458 on-base percentage this year, Syverson has had plenty of opportunities for sacrifices. She had 19 last year and 16 in 2004; those totals are ranked third and fifth on the Falcons single season record list. She already has 21 this year and is ranked first all-time for sacrifices in a career with 69.

Taylor, who is from Forest Lake, Minn., is double majoring in broadcast journalism and marketing communications with a minor in coaching. She has been the backup and bullpen catcher for the Falcons and has only started a handful of games, but that does not diminish her importance to the team.

“[Taylor] is the most team-oriented student-athlete I have ever coached,” Perkins said. “She is all about doing whatever it takes to help the team.”

Taylor said her teammates rely on her for encouragement. She also gives pitcher some pointers on their form and delivery when needed.

“I just try to show up everyday with a positive energy and help others feed off of me and my attitude,” Taylor said. “I also feel that I help work with the pitchers really well and finding little things that they might be doing differently from a different day that may affect how they are pitching. “

Taylor also pinch-hits on occasion.

“She has come in and gotten some clutch hits for us,” Perkins said.

Kelley, who is an outfielder from Rochester, Minn., is an elementary education major with an early childhood minor. She started 34 games in the outfield last season, but has mostly been used by the Falcons as a backup and pinch runner.

“[Kelley] has been an important contributor in the outfield,” Perkins said. “It’s nice to have speed come off the bench when we need it.”

Kelley said it is tough being a bench warmer sometimes, but she tries to keep her teammates’ spirits up.

“During the games I try to put a lot of my attention on the pitchers and making sure they have a lot of positive support,” she said.

As a group, the three seniors said they have formed some strong bonds during their time at UW-RF.

“I am really close with Breamber, and we do a lot of things together outside of softball,” said Kelley.

Taylor said it is hard not to become close when you see each other all the time.

“Over the years we have all been able to work through things and see each other grow, both as ballplayers and as people.”

After graduation they will be going different directions in the work world. Kelley said she plans on teaching second or third grade, while Taylor said she hopes to work for FSN North as a sports photojournalist.

Syverson has not decided what her future will be just yet.

“[I’ll] take a summer to bum around and make some money, maybe grad school or a real job someday.”

The three seniors said they are also sad to see their careers in softball come to an end.

“I’m not ready to leave the sport, or the people,” Syverson said. “But I’m glad that over the four years, I’m going to be leaving with a ton of great memories and some everlasting friendships.”