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Softball team looking for a 2015 turnaround

March 11, 2015

Last season, the UW-River Falls softball team struggled to get anything going during the season, finishing 4-12 in the WIAC and going 0-6 on the road.

The Falcons look to bounce back and make a serious impact in the WIAC this season, however. Leading the way is senior captain Abbie Morris, who set the all-time school record last year for home runs in a season with 13. Morris was an all-WIAC selection and second team NFCA all-Region selection. She finished the season batting .391 with 39 RBI’s and an .827 slugging percentage.

Not only can Morris hit, she also pitches for the Falcons. In her 23 appearances last season, Morris held a 4.60 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 105 innings pitched.

“My role this year is really just making sure I’m a good leader for everyone and trying to help get everyone on the same page and teaching them what it takes to lead for the next few years,” Morris said.

Alongside Morris this season are her senior teammates, Brooke Lauritzen and Amber O’Connell.

Lauritzen is a senior who, like Morris, plays the field and pitches. Last year, the Lauritzen started in 34 games, both as a pitcher and at first base. At the plate, she boasted a .295 batting average that included five home-runs. She also had a .982 fielding percentage, which was the second highest on the team for someone playing in more than 25 games. On the rubber, Lauritzen had a 4.46 ERA, the best on the team, in 86.1 innings pitched with 58 strikeouts.

O’Connell is the signal caller behind the plate, playing in all 39 games last season hitting .300 with a team-leading 140 at bats. O’Connell was a rock behind the plate with a .976 fielding percentage, helping keep runners from advancing bases.

The team lost one player this season due to graduation. Sarah Bohlen was the team’s lone senior last season, and put up impressive numbers. An all-WIAC and third team NFCA all-Region selection, Bohlen finished the season the season with a .387 batting average, eight home runs and a team-leading 11 doubles. Starting at third base for the last two seasons, Bohlen finished her career playing in 139 games, with a career fielding percentage of .916.

This season, the team┬áhas played in eight games down in Rochester, Minnesota, at the dome located on the Rochester Community and Technical College campus. In those eight games, the team is 4-4, winning three of the first four games it played between Feb. 28 and March 1. This past weekend, March 6-7, the Falcons didn’t have a strong showing, winning just one game in two days. The team will be leaving on Friday for its annual spring training games in Clermont, Florida.

The Falcons will be taking on the best of the best which includes University of St. Thomas, back-to-back national champions Tuft University, and Macalester College, which is coached by former Falcons Head Coach Jody Gabriel.

Morris is excited to see the team play difficult opponents in Florida and can’t wait for the regular season to start.

“The team looks to have great potential with many different strengths,” Morris said. “We all continue to work well together and as long as we keep working hard, we’ll be all set when conference games hit.”

In the eight games the team has played, sophomore transfer Katie Thompson leads the team with a .450 batting average and sophomore Kaitlyn LePine is crushing the ball with four home-runs and a .440 batting average. The team is set to play its first home game March 29 in a doubleheader against Finlandia University.