The Muhlenberg softball team’s 2010 season began and ended with a bit of history.
In between, though, things didn’t quite go according to plan for the defending Centennial Conference champion.
Junior Ashley Brewer pitched a no-hitter, the eighth in school history, in the season opener, and the Mules broke the school record for stolen bases in a single season in the final doubleheader. But Muhlenberg finished 6-10 in the CC and 14-19 overall to miss out on a berth in the playoffs after winning the tournament in 2009.
Brewer’s three home runs on the season brought her into a three-way tie for the career mark of six.
Muhlenberg was hurt by a young lineup – the team had just one senior and featured several freshmen regulars – and an inability to complete sweeps. The Mules split four of their eight CC series, each time winning the first game of the doubleheader but dropping the second. They were swept in three of the other four, each by teams that reached the CC playoffs.
But there were some notable wins along the way. Muhlenberg won three games against teams that went on to the NCAA Tournament: a 1-0 extra-inning defeat of nationally ranked Moravian and a sweep of Neumann, the Colonial States Athletic Conference champion.
Brewer not only shined in the circle but also at the plate. The second baseman was named CC player of the year after leading the league in batting average (.430), on-base percentage (.511) and slugging percentage (.684). She stole 22 bases, second in the conference, and led the Mules with three home runs, three triples, five doubles and 22 runs scored. Brewer went 6-6 as a pitcher with a 3.65 ERA, striking out 59 and holding opponents to a .239 batting average.
Muhlenberg’s two other pitchers also had impressive campaigns. Freshman Angie Sisco led the team with a 2.71 ERA, and junior Alyssa Bruckner won six games and posted a 2.92 ERA in a team-leading 93.1 innings pitched.
Van Waalwijk had a career-high 19 hits as a senior and ripped a two-run homer against a Washington (Mo.) squad that would go on to the NCAA Tournament.
Freshman Devon Barber started in center field, hitting .301, and joined Brewer as a terror on the base paths, leading the CC with 23 stolen bases. In all Muhlenberg swiped 72 bases, breaking the previous school record of 68 set in 1999.
Junior Alyssa Epstein (.292 batting average) and sophomore Shelby Smith (nine RBI) joined Barber in the outfield. Junior Jess Kasza posted team highs of 15 RBI and seven doubles at shortstop, and sophomore Brittany Blohm had 11 RBI at third.
Senior Jenna Van Waalwijk (nine stolen bases) was the only player to start all 33 games, mostly at first base. Freshmen Brielle Klein (.275 batting average) and Elizabeth Sullivan both saw significant time behind the plate.