Schedule note: Field #6
@ Ashford University
Mon, Mar 3 - Sat, Mar 8
Game Time...The Northwestern College softball team heads to Tucson, Ariz. over its spring break to play in the Tucson Invitational. The Red Raiders will play a total of 10 games over a four day stretch with an off day in the middle on Wednesday. They open with three games on Monday, March 3, beginning with Ashford at 10am (CST). Some of the games will be webcast...see the webcast schedule here: Webcast schedule! Click on the following link to view the Tucson Invitational website: Tucson Invitational Website.
Ashford...The Saints are 1-6 so far this season, losing its first four games of the season before defeating Benedictine-Springfield (Ill.) 6-1 for its only victory. They have since lost to Purdue-Calumet (Ind.) and Culver-Stockton (Mo.). Ashford plays in the Association of Independent Institutions.
Kevin Jannusch is in his fourth season as the head coach at Ashford and returns 13 players, including three who earned first team all-conference honors, from a 2013 team that finished 23-23 overall.
Junior Payton Greeting his hitting a team-best .400 so far this season, with four hits (all singles) and two runs scored. Kayln Ohlemeyer is hitting .389 (7-for-18) with four RBIs while Shelby Hobelman, a first team all-conference pick in 2013, sports a .357 average with three run scored. Nicole Schmidt, another first team all-conference selection as a pitcher, is 0-4 with a 6.27 ERA.
Siena Heights...Members of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC), the Saints are 0-1 so far this season. They lost to Biola (Calif.) 9-5 and will have played a game against Arizona Christian and Judson before a match-up with NWC on Monday.
Laura Klutsarits returns as the Saints' head coach and bring back seven of its top 10 players from a 2013 team that finished seventh in the WHAC at 5-11 and 19-23 overall.
Taylor Hayes, a 2013 NAIA All-American, is the top returner after hitting for the third best average (.450) in the program's history. Hayes also drove in 42 runs last year. Katie O'Hotzke also returns and was a 2012 NAIA All-American, earning all-conference honors last season. She hit .353 with five home runs last seaon. Both players are expected to be the top pitchers this season as well after leading the team in innings in 2013. Bitty Treece and Mariah Boss are back after earning all-conference honors in 2013.
Viterbo...The V-Hawks are 0-4 this season, losing a pair of games to both Cardinal Stritch and Waldorf. Members of the Midwest Collegiate conference, Viterbo finished last in the conference with a 2-18 record, 4-36 overall. First year head coach Ashley Balazs, who comes from the University of Indianapolis after serving as a graduate assistant, inherits a team that brings back 10 players from 2013.
Viterbo has scored three runs in its four games and is hitting .126 as a team. Senior Amanda Berg leads the team with a .667 average (4-for-6) and Courtney Stilwell is hitting .250. Alison Vanhavermaet, an honorable mention all-conference pick last year, is the top pitcher returning and has an 0-1 record with a 3.32 ERA.
Arizona Christian...The 2013 season was the first year that softball was a varsity sport at AZU and the Firestorm went 0-16 in the very competitive Golden State Athletic Conference, 3-39 overall. New coach Jay Pyron, who comes to AZU after spending several years at NCAA-I Murray State. He inherits a squad that returns eight position players and its two top starting pitchers off last year's team.
The Firestorm own a 2-2 record in the early portion of the 2014 schedule, splitting two doubleheaders against Embry-Riddle (Ariz.). They average seven runs per game and are hitting .333 as a team. Genna Klement is hitting a team-best .833 (5-for-6) with one home run and six RBIs. Jasmine Aguilar and Brit Vanderdrink with .500 and .375, respectively, Patricia Porter is batting .364 with three runs scored.
Arizona Christian has a 4.20 team ERA and opposing teams are hitting .310 against them. Kendra Perez has a team-best 2.33 ERA but does not have a decision. Carleigh Cupp, a transfer from Sterling College in 2013, has a 4.20 ERA.
Bethel...The Pilots will be making their season debut at the Tucson Invitational, playing three games prior to its match-up against Northwestern on Tuesday, March 4 at 2:30pm (CST).
Megan Smalley-Hastings begins her second season as the head coach of the Pilots and she returns nearly everyone off a 2013 team that finished second in the Crossroads League with a 13-5 record, 27-13 overall. They qualified for the NAIA Softball Championship opening round where they went 1-2.
Bethel hit .273 as a team and averaged over 4.5 runs per contest. They return six of their top seven hitters, led by Brookelyn Smith who earned first team all-league honors with a .365 batting average. She also hit nine home runs and drove in 30. Katie Claxon batted .316 with 12 RBIs and Jessica Ewen (.289) and Katrina Klingberg (.280) also earned all-conference honors.
The Pilots sported a 1.96 team ERA and gave up 2.3 runs per game. Natalie Newell, a 2013 NAIA All-American and two-time Crossroads League pitcher of the year, led the team with a 15-7 record and 1.10 ERA.
Great Falls...The Argos are members of the North Star Athletic Conference in softball and own a 2-4 overall record heading into this week. They have wins over NNU and British Columbia and losses to British Columbia, two to College of Idaho and one to Eastern Oregon.
Joey Egan begins his third season as the Argos head softball coach and returns seven position players and one pitcher off a 2013 team that finished 26-17.
Great Falls has scored 28 runs in six games this year, hitting .255 as a team. Returning starter Kelli O'Brien leads the team with a .471 average and also has a team-high three home runs. Brittney Robbins (.350) and Keeley Van Blaricom (.316) are the other top hitters for the Argos.
Purdue-North Central...The Panthers are making their season debut in Tucson, Ariz. Members of the Chicagoland Collegiate Confernce, PNC finished 10th out of 11 teams in conference play with a 2-18 record, 9-38 overall.
Jeff Boardman returns for his eighth season with the Panthers and returns four position players and two pitchers off last year's squad.
Sophomore Amy Scott is the top returning hitter after recording a team-high .316 average with 12 runs scored and 17 RBIs. Abby Scowden hit .220 last year with one home run and six RBIs. Leah Fenner is the top returner to the circle after going 2-5 with a 6.26 ERA in 2013.
Judson...The Eagles are coming off a historic season in 2013, finishing third in the NCCAA national softball tournament and setting a school record with 39 wins (39-19). They tied for third in the Chicagoland Collegiate Conference at 13-7.
Becky Pearl is her 10th season as the head coach at Judson and she returns four starters and two of her top three pitchers from 2013.
Shannon Nevins is the top returning player at the plate, earning first team all-conference honors after hitting .365 with 47 runs scored. She also stole 27-of-32 bases. Maddie Smith also returns as a starter and hit .306 with three home runs and 36 RBIs in 2013. Brianna Tennyson earned second team all-conference honors as a pitcher and outfielder, going 16-9 with a 2.20 ERA on the mound and hitting .296 at the plate.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders are 2-2 so far this season, splitting four games at the Oklahoma Baptist Classic earlier in February. Northwestern defeated 23rd-ranked Friends (Kan.) 9-8 and Bethany (Kan.) 1-0 but lost to #11 OBU (2-1) and Bacone (Okla.) 5-2.
The Red Raiders finished the 2013 season tied with Midland for third in the GPAC with a 13-7 record and entered the eight-team conference championship as the third seed. They defeated Nebraska Wesleyan in the first round but lost its next two games to Morningside and Midland, ending their season with a 26-22 overall record. Chris Nachtigall, who begins his third season as the Red Raiders head coach, returns seven position players, his top two pitchers and a total of 11 letterwinners off last years squad. Northwestern was picked to finish fourth in the GPAC preseason poll.
Northwestern has scored a total of 13 runs in its four games, averaging 3.25 per game, and is hitting .281 as a team. Three players are hitting over .400 (minimum of 6 at-bats), led by Clare Ipema with a .455 average. The sophomore has five hits in 11 at-bats and is 2-for-4 in stolen bases. Both Alex Price and Laura Hurley are hitting .429 (6-for-14) with Price leading the team with five RBIs and Hurley hitting the team's lone home run. Lindsey Remien (.385) and Allison Herbert (.375) are the top hitters for NWC.
Defensively, Northwestern has given up 15 runs, an average of 4.25 runs per game, and opponents are hitting .345 against Red Raider pitchers. Kayla Foresman has pitched five scoreless innings, earning a no-decision in the win over Bethany. Keely Bracelin is 1-1 with a 0.72 ERA, striking out five in 9.2 innings and Morgan Means is 1-1 with a 0.95 ERA in 7.1 innings.
# 21 | Outfielder
Senior from Sioux Falls, S.D.
# 20 | First Base
Senior from Canton, S.D.
# 4 | Centerfield
Senior from Merrillville, Ind.
# 13 | Pitcher/First Base
Junior from Council Bluffs, Iowa