Starting in Sunshine

Trip to Florida yields good marks to open softball season

by Published: Mar 20, 2013

Making the Catch: Senior Lindsey Pettit stretches out to get a baserunner out at first base. The Lady Bulldogs finished the Rebel Spring Games with a 7-5 record during the week of games.  Photo Courtesy of Eric Carlson

Making the Catch: Senior Lindsey Pettit stretches out to get a baserun­ner out at first base. The Lady Bulldogs fin­ished the Rebel Spring Games with a 7–5 record dur­ing the week of games. Photo Courtesy of Eric Carlson

While the boys of sum­mer con­tin­ued to ready them­selves in Florida for base­ball sea­son, the Ferris State Softball team was doing the same in Kissimmee.

The Ferris Bulldogs kicked off their sea­son with the 2013 Florida Rebel Spring Games March 9–17, com­ing off of a 31–24 record last year.

Ferris State wasted no time throw­ing its guns on the mound, which led to a tor­rid 6–1 start that included a 13–3 drub­bing of Wheeling Jesuit (W. Va.) in five innings. Ferris deliv­ered the same treat­ment to Lees-McRae (N.C.) in a 9–0 win.

Ferris junior pitcher Amy Dunleavy was effec­tive on both sides of the ball all week, com­pil­ing a 4–1 record to lead the team in wins. With the bat, Dunleavy logged an on base per­cent­age of .390, includ­ing a home­run, and cleaned up the base-paths with team high 17 total bases.

“I think our age was the big dif­fer­ence,” Dunleavy said. “We were able to pre­pare a lit­tle bet­ter know­ing what was ahead in Florida. We came out really strong and look for­ward to fur­ther suc­cess this year.”

Senior pitcher Dana Bowler, who pitched a team high 41 innings over the week, aver­aged more than one strike­out per inning, with 45 total. Bowler sep­a­rated her­self from the pitch­ing pack with 15 of those bat­ters struck out look­ing as opposed to swing­ing. The rest of the rota­tion has 12 such strikeouts.

The bats cooled off in the sec­ond half of the tour­na­ment, as the Bulldogs stum­bled into the week­end fin­ish­ing with a 7–5 mark overall.

“As a team we need to find a way to start games a lit­tle stronger,” Dunleavy said. “We need to score first and give our pitch­ers a lit­tle more breath­ing room.”

Dunleavy car­ried her own load much of the time, and cur­rently leads the team in runs scored with nine, and is sec­ond in runs bat­ted in with six.

“The week could have ended bet­ter for myself and the team,” Dunleavy said. “Playing 12 games in a week pro­vides plenty of blis­ters and bruises, but we did a great job of play­ing together.

A closer look at the five losses shows that only one was by more than three runs, which was a 4–0 loss to Southern Indiana.

The Bulldogs also won three straight games with a two run lead in one and a one run lead in the oth­ers, with an extra innings strug­gle against St. Cloud State (Minn.).

Ferris won close games and kept its losses from get­ting out of hand, which is a good sign head­ing forward.

The Bulldogs will start con­fer­ence play March 23 with a road trip to Ohio. The four game week­end set includes match-ups with Ashland for the first two games and Malone for the last two.