WATERTOWN, Wis. --- The Sabercats Softball Team begins their 2017 season next week with in Minnesota. The six-game stretch in two days will start the season for a balanced group of veterans and newcomers alike.
Head Coach Rob Thompson sees the balance of players as a positive, and predicts improved performance for the Sabercats. "[I am excited about] the balance that we have this year between returning players and newcomers. That balance will extend to all aspects of the game, pitching, team defense, offensive power and explosiveness. I think our pitching will be greatly improved, as well as total team defense and hitting."
The Sabercats will look to capitalize on that balance in two key series: a six-game clash with Mount Mary University (AD3I), and a six-game series with North Central University (NCCAA DII/NCAA DIII). Thompson said that MMU and NCU are "programs that are very similar to ours, and where we can be very competitive."
Last season against North Central, the Sabercats took four games out of five, including an exciting 14-13 win in extra innings. The Sabercats will host NCU for four games in April, and will play the Rams twice at the NCU Tournament in Minneapolis. The tournament will take place next week, when the Sabercats will play six games in a two-day stretch.
When April hits, the team will host 15 games in 16 days. That home stand will be punctuated by those consecutive double-headers against North Central (April 14-15) and by a triple-header against Finlandia University on April 22 (Sat.).
Highlighting the players to watch are veterans Brooke Campbell (Kansas City, Mo.) and Tina Kolisnki (Menomonee, Wis.), with newcomers Harmony Bailey (Rudyard, Mich.) and Hannah May (Rudyard, Mich.).
Thompson's take on the four players is as follows: "Brooke brings a wealth of experience in the circle as a junior; she is a solid defensive player, and will pull double-duty at the corners in the infield. Brooke will also give us some 'pop' in the middle of the batting order."
"Tina brings energy to every inning defensively. She can track down a ball quickly and has a strong arm in left field. At the plate, she will be our leadoff hitter. She is smart, fast, and always ready to play."
"Harmony will round out the pitching staff, bringing significant high school experience. She has a strong arm and good movement on the ball. She will anchor the first-base corner in the infield when not pitching, and brings another solid bat to the plate."
"Hannah has a cannon for an arm. She knows the game, and she will be our 'field general' to control the infield. Hannah has a lively bat and will provide much-needed power in the third spot in the batting order."
Bailey and May will join the team after the Sabercats Women's Basketball Team returns from the NCCAA National Tournament in Ankeny, Iowa this weekend.
As part of the team's goals for the season, Thompson and the Sabercats have a balance of performance goals and goals involving their Christian testimony: "Our team goals are: grow in our commitment to the Lord; honor the Lord in every aspect of practices and games; achieve double-digit wins in 2017; and win at least four games at the NCU tournament," Thompson said.
For a complete schedule, click here.
To download a combined baseball-softball calender poster, click here.