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Softball season underway; team prepares for Florida trip

March 3, 2011

The UW-River Falls women’s softball team opened its season last weekend with a sweep of Gustavus Adolphus in a double-header played Sunday at the Rochester Dome in Rochester, Minn.

The Falcons took game one in decisive fashion, routing the Gusties 18-5. Game two proved to be a different story, with the Falcons hanging on for a 1-0 win.

Captain Dana Book had a good weekend, going 3 for 5 in game one, with two runs scored and four RBI. Book added two homeruns in the game as well.

Head Coach Jody Gabriele said that the team is prepped and ready for what should be a great season.

“2011 Falcon softball looks great,” Gabriel said. “We have details to perfect but we definitely have the potential to be at the top of the WIAC.”

Gabriel said that the Falcons have a lot of potential, adding that talent and depth will play an integral role in the team’s success.

“The strengths of this team will be the talent and ‘ball sense’ of this group,” Gabriel said. “They are ready to compete at a high level because of the previous experiences they have had.”

Beginning March 13, the Falcons will be competing in the annual Rebel Spring Games, a nationally recognized tournament held each year in Florida.

The tournament, which runs through March 18, features some of the top teams in the nation, spurring Gabriel to make on thing very obvious.

“One thing that I like to clarify is that Florida is not just spring training for us,” Gabriel said. “It is an important part of our season in which we play ten games.”

Gabriel added that the competition in Florida is something to use as drive to perform at optimum level.

“We will be matched against some nationally ranked teams,” Gabriel said. “We will fight to win every game we play there.”

Competition and winning aside, Gabriel said that the trip to Florida is an important time to build relationships on the team among other things.

“Florida is important for team chemistry and trying to develop a more set batting order, defense, and pitching rotation for the conference season,” Gabriel said.

The 2010 Falcon softball squad included only one senior; something that Gabriel said can play a positive role for the 2011 team.

“Last year’s team only had one senior,” Gabriel said. “So this year’s group will be ready to hit the ground running.”

Talent rich and with experience on their side, Gabriel said the Falcons will be plagued by one thing in particular.

“Weaknesses will be simply finding consistency,” Gabriel said.

After a successful first weekend, Gabriel said she was very pleased with what she saw from her team.

“Knowing that we have all parts of the game in order was very important,” Gabrielesaid. “The team handled pressure well and came through with two victories.”

According to Gabriel, the upcoming season is one that has tremendous amounts of potential.

“The upcoming season looks promising,” Gabriel said. “If we are willing to work hard and get better everyday, we are definitely capable of achieving our goals.”

The Falcons are in action again on March 13, when the take on Ramapo College in The Rebel Spring Games.