Season Preview: Softball Looks to Get Off Seesaw

Thursday, March 1, 2012 - page 2
 

As a starting catcher, Brittany Blohm is expected to stand up and crouch down between pitches. The ups and downs of the Muhlenberg softball program the last few years – definitely not expected.

Muhlenberg tied for last place in the Centennial Conference in 2008, the year before Blohm arrived, then won the

Brittany Blohm
Blohm drove in the winning run with two outs in the top of the seventh in the 2011 CC championship game.
championship in her freshman season. The following year the Mules slipped to 14-19 overall and 6-10 in the CC, but last spring they rebounded to capture the title for the record-tying fifth time.

Now Blohm and her teammates are committed to making sure the Mules break the pattern and have another strong season in 2012. Play begins in Clermont, Fla., with a pair of games Sunday night.

“We’ve kind of kept the same game plan from last year, just with a different group of girls,” said Blohm, a second-year captain. “At first I was a little nervous. I thought, what am I going to do to make this work for this group of girls? Everybody has a different mentality, a different personality and a different thing that makes them competitive.

“We’re still working on it. We’ve been together a lot even though we haven’t played a game together yet. You figure things out as you go along.”

One thing the team will have to figure out is how to make up for the loss of the two-time CC player of the year, who was not only a record-setting hitter but also the Mules’ top pitcher last year.

Shelby Smith
Smith hit a career-best .323 with five RBI last year.
“We’re going to need people to step up at every level,” said Blohm.

Fortunately, Muhlenberg returns plenty of veterans from an offense that set school records for runs, doubles, home runs and extra-base hits in a season.

Blohm had her best year in 2011, hitting .314 with a team-leading 12 doubles and finishing second on the team with 26 RBI.

A quartet of experienced sophomores make up the starting infield, with Kelly Kline (.266, 3 HR, 25 RBI) at first, All-CC second-team selection Erica Wenzel (.269, 2 HR, 15 RBI) at second and Chelsea Benjamin (.238, 8 RBI) at third returning to their positions from last year. Colleen O’Donnell (.311, 3 HR, 17 RBI) moves in from the outfield to take over at shortstop.

Junior co-captain Devon Barber (.271, 11 RBI, 17 stolen bases) is back as the starting centerfielder and leadoff batter, with senior co-captain Shelby Smith and junior Jessica Costa also vying for starting time.

“I think we have a great offense,” said Blohm. “One through nine will be solid.”

Junior Angie Sisco, who was 6-6 last year, is the top returner in the circle, where the Mules will lean heavily on newcomers.

“The freshman pitchers have done extremely well. I’m very impressed with them,” said their catcher. “We’ll have to see how they mature through games.”

With young players in such an important position, there are likely to be ups and downs. But if there’s one thing Muhlenberg softball knows, it’s that if you get down, you can always get right back up.