Saturday was a big day for our team as it was the last game the seniors would play on our field and it was our last home game of the season. Anderson was ready to play the first game and challenged us into extra innings the first game. We pulled it out with a 1-0 win in the eighth inning and the second game we showed them how we could hit as we mercied them in 5 innings. After the game we had all of our families join us for a potluck and we had fun together. It was a great day and a wonderful way to end our season. Looking ahead towards tournament, and winning the conference, we have some big shoes to fill this weekend. I know with the strengths that we have and the attitude my teammates and I bring to the field we can dominate any team we face. A week of handwork should prepare us for a few big games this weekend. It's going to be a blast!
Season Week 6 (4/19/04) - What a week! The week started off slow when we split with Case Western but it ended in glory as we brought home two big wins on our home field Saturday when defeated Franklin. After a disappointing loss in our first game against Case Western on Wednesday we regrouped and brought our focus back to winning the second game. We realized that the first game we were not completely focused and with a little work we were able to adjust and bring out our game. Thursday practice was a struggle for most of our team. We were beginning to practice and adjust our positions for our big game on Saturday, because we were going to be missing at least one of our starters, if not two. We tried and tried but no matter what we did we just couldn't seem to field the ball cleanly, or accomplish what we needed to. It was a practiced that you just wanted to call "time out" and start over again from the beginning. With a bit of frustration and everyone wondering "what is going on" the practice ended and we did our best to forget about the day and look forward to Friday's practice. Friday came along and things went back in order. We kept the practice light and made sure every was having fun while accomplishing our drills.
It was a good practice and we finished by a bit of competition with a game of softball amongst ourselves. Saturday arrived and we were on. We looked good, felt good and we were ready to go. We had a great warm up and things just fell into place. Our "SI" was high and we took Franklin by storm. With our intensity at a high, our mental game ready and smiles on our faces we worked together as a team. It felt great to see everyone hitting and working hard! If we played every game with the attitude we had on Saturday no one would be able to touch us. Sarah Betts was unstoppable as she pitched both games from the mound and offensively she also drilled a ball over the fence for her first home run! Everyone on the team worked hard as we sweated, laughed and cheered together. It was a beautiful day to play and we took advantage of every aspect of the game that we could!
Season Week 5 (4/12/04) - This past week has been a week of ups and downs for our softball team. At the beginning of the week we found out that we were ranked, but after playing Thomas More and splitting with them I think our heads came back down and we realized how much we still had to work. Thomas More was a good team and we learned a lot from them. We learned that we still have a lot of good competition to play and that we can never let our guard down. We practiced hard even though we were all feeling tired from a busy week, to prepare ourselves for Mt. St. Joe and Transy that were coming up. We knew we had a tough weekend coming up and after practice on Thursday, Coach Spann brought out a new tactic for practice. She said we needed to have softer hands, so in the Easter Spirit we had an Egg tossing contest working on our soft hands and doing pushups if we let our eggs crack. It was fun and a great reminder how important it is to have soft hands and it got us ready to play some big conference games.
We faced Mt. St. Joeon Friday and the first game went pretty quickly as we pulled ahead and maintained great defense to shut them down. The second game we gave up a few to many hits and runs the first inning and we struggled to come back. It was a tough loss but we learned a lot from that game and the feeling of loosing is never fun. I think loosing inspired us all to try to start all over for the next day after a good night's sleep and a great breakfast at Bob Evans. We woke up all refreshed and took the field at Transylvania before they had a chance to show up. We played to tough games against them and we pulled out two more big wins. The last game, we were down in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs and two runners on and Mandy Snider had a huge hit up the middle that allowed both runners to score. This was huge for our team to know that even in situations where it doesn't look promising, we still can pull it off!
It was a great weekend and because we played so well on Saturday, coach gave us the day off on Monday. I'm sure we'll have some tough practices this week to keep us working hard because we have another tough week of competition, but we have so much fun together as a team that we will practice rain or shine and still laugh and have fun the entire practice, while accomplishing a lot!
Season Week 4 (4/5/04) - Another week has come and gone and we are still showing people the new and improved Bluffton Softball team. We gained two big wins against our conference competitor, Manchester , on a cold dreary day. It's hard to get pumped up to play softball on days that are cold and wet but with the teammates that I have and the way we are loving every minute of the game I know that we didn't even notice the rain. We came out on top in both games and played solid defense which was crucial as Manchester battled against our own Sarah Betts. Our team is gaining confidence with our bats and we are not afraid to make our opponents make the mistakes.
After each game we discuss the positives and negatives and how we can improve ourselves. We worked on these things in practice and battled this week with our school work and other things keeping us busy while staying positive through a long week. Saturday came and we drove up to Rochester to play two more games bringing our record up to 16-2. Even though the competition level was different from ours, it allowed us to work on different aspects of our game that we hadn't been able to work on in game situations. We practiced a lot of base running and learned more about what are team is capable of. With every game we build more strength as we find our weaknesses and use the next week of practice to improve on them.
We are a different team this year if people haven't noticed. We have been shown excellence from our coaches and they expect nothing but excellence from us. Even people that don't know us are amazed at our determination, such as the Manager at a Burger King we went to in Michigan , who joked with us as we all ordered chicken sandwiches and waters (yes, fried food and pop is not included on our diet). We have changed everything from the way we think, dress, approach school work and classes, time we wake and go to sleep, and even the way we eat. It was hard in the beginning to give up some of these things but when you have teammates around you sacrificing just like you are you know that the result is worth it. As a team we are ready to face another week and more competition because we know that no one has put more time, energy or heart into their season than the Bluffton College Softball team!
Season Week 3 (3/29/04) - What a week! We couldn't have asked for a better turn out then four big wins! Tuesday we played Heidelberg , a team the previously had beaten us and we showed them the new Bluffton Softball team. Sarah Betts did outstanding on the mound and we had hits when we needed them. Even with two big W's we still found things that needed slight improvements. Wednesday and Thursday we practiced diligently working on the little things we needed to improve on. A bit of rain provided us with a soft field and wet grass that was perfect for diving practices. After getting plenty of dirt on us and working hard for two days we departed Friday at noon for a long drive to Hanover . With a quick pit stop we made it in good time and Hanover let us practice on their field. The next day after we had a good night sleep, had eaten breakfast in the same room as Hanover and stepped on the field realizing that we were the last ones to drag the field we decided that the games were going to be ours. Sarah did a wonderful job pitching against Hanover and our defense played really well considering they are a good hitting team. Everyone on our team was hitting Saturday. We were getting on base and making Hanover make the mistakes. The highlight of the game for me was when we turned a double play in the second game to get both a runner out at two and three. It was great to see what we had been practicing really work. Our team is so strong that I think we can beat any one we set our minds to. We have more of a bond that any other team I know and as you can see, it is helping us to win ball games. Hopefully this warm weather is here to stay and we will be able to get a few more W's in the next week!
Season Week 2 (3/22/04) - This past week was a bummer. We got our hopes up and our game faces on ready for our games both Tuesday and Saturday, and Mother Nature decided that the snow and rain had to come and ruin our fun. We had practice all week in the gym which is always a struggle from playing games outside to going back in the gym and practicing technique inside on a wood floor instead of dirt and grass. Friday we were able to practice outside on the football practice field where it was dry enough to at least be in the grass. It felt great being outside and that got us motivated for our game up in Michigan Saturday.
Waking up Saturday we were all ready to go and just began loading the bus when we heard that Olivet received a lot of rain. We offered to bring up some extra bags of field dry to help them with their field but our game was postponed. While we waited another hour and a half for our departure we played games together and spent some more quality time bonding as we played in the gym with basketballs and volleyballs. After time passed, we packed up our stuff again and watched the bus pull up just to watch coach get on and send it back. Apparently, Olivet couldn't get their field dry enough to play on it. We were all distraught! Going over a week without a game is tough. After learning that our game was cancelled we had to deal with some other team issues that came up and had to put a bit of time in running before we could leave for the day. Overall the week was disappointing but I feel good that our team is still very strong and we are still learning each day! I think we are all very ready for the sun to come out again so we can start playing outside.
Season Week 1 (3/15/04) - It has been a bit of shock to be back in Ohio in thirty degree weather playing softball. This past week we practiced hard Monday through Thursday correcting little mistakes we found in Florida . We did a lot of hitting drills and reviewed our defensive plays preparing ourselves for our first home game on Friday against Kalamzoo. As a team we were all so excited to play on our home field on a Friday afternoon in front of our friends, parents and other fans that come to cheer us on.
After the news of the game being cancelled Friday morning you could tell the whole softball team kinda pouted. Even though the game was cancelled, we met as a team at Coach's house to eat dinner, scout Adrian and have some team bonding. We all sat around and played catch phrase as a team which was tons of fun. The best part about our team is that we know how to have fun together on and off the field.
Saturday came and I have never seen our team as fired up as we were Saturday morning. We were all up hitting by choice by 9:00 am just to warm up. Instead of being on the field at 11:00 like we were required, we were dressed and started warming up at 10:30 . Because we were so excited and pumping each other up it was easy playing two games and staying focused and having fun while we played. Adrian was a tough team but there is something about our team chemistry that I believe will help us to win any game we want to. We wanted those games and we worked hard and achieved our goals. It felt great to get two more wins under our belt and to have our BC fans cheering us on! Thanks to everyone who came and supported us!
Spring Trip Day 4 (3/4/04) - Today was the last day of softball in Florida for the Bluffton Softball Team. After a night of team bonding with a talent show and learning how hilarious the freshman are, how amusing the sophomore bunch is, acting crazy as juniors and watching our seniors lead as we grew closer. It's great having a team that enjoys each other on and off the field.
Thursday morning came and we played well, but went 1-1. The first team we played we hit really well against and had great defense but it just wasn't enough. After the game we learned that the team that beat us, Wartburg, was ranked 8th in the nation. It made us feel better to know that we played well against a ranked team and we heard comments about how well we hit off of their pitcher.
The second game started off slowly but ended nicely. We won 8-0 which was a nice way to finish off the Florida season. It was neat because Amber Fitzwater hit Amanda Devault home, which both are seniors and their last time down in Florida .
Ending up 6-2 is a great record to start for us, especially playing some tough teams and this tournament being the time we get all the mistakes out and corrected. I think if we continue to grow stronger defensively we will be unstoppable. Our bats still need a bit of work, but that is something that we will correct. I believe that we came out very strong and are ready to prove that this year the Bluffton Softball team should not be taken lightly. We have more motivation, dedication and desire than ever before and as a team we are bonded like no other. I can't wait to see what the rest of the season holds for us!
Now that we are back in Bluffton we have a lot of work to do and have to prepare ourselves to practice and play in the cold weather. We learned a lot about ourselves as a team down in Florida and realized that we still have a few things to work on. It will be nice to get out on our home field and practice, but we will definitely miss the 85 degree weather!
We are looking at the coming week for decent weather to get four practices in before we face Kalamazoo on Friday. The best part of coming home from Florida is knowing that you have friends from the college ready to support you at your games. There is nothing better than having a large crowd cheering for you when a great play is made or you hit the ball hard.
I am looking forward to see how our team will build on what we have learned in Florida. I think that we are a very strong team that not only can play softball but can back each other up when we get down. I know that we, as a team, are extremely excited to show off our new attitude on the diamond and to play "our game". I encourage anyone that likes Softball to come watch a game because as a team I know we, the Bluffton Beaver Softball team, will show you a great game!
Spring Trip Day 3 (3/3/04) - Today we brought our standings to 5-1. We played great defense and definitely came
to hit! Our team has become very solid defensively, even after switching players
and having them play different positions than the norm.
The first game was fun because we jumped out on top and started scoring early while we watched Eastern's eyes grow bigger and bigger as they watched strikes fly by as Sarah pitched them in. Our defense was made easy because Eastern's girls couldn't swing fast enough to get a hold of the balls as they flew across the plate.
The highlight of the game for me was being able to use my new trick known as a suitcase bunt. A few weeks before our trip to Florida , coach introduced me to this new bunt and I was able to finally use it in a game. The bunt consists of taking the bat around your back and then hitting the ball. The goal is to advance the base runners while confusing the other team's defense. Since we were ahead coach let me try it and it was successful on the first try. Although I was thrown out at first, I did my job by moving the runners and their third baseman said, "That's the coolest thing I've ever seen".
The second game was another fun win. We scored early and were ahead 8-1, which allowed us to practice things defensively. The biggest challenge of this game was fielding the ball against slap hitters. It was great to practice this defense and we didn't feel tons of pressure because our team was hitting their pitcher very well. We also switched coaching positions, which allowed Alisha to practice her coaching skills on the third base line.We had another successful day and gained a lot of knowledge about our own skills. I can't believe we only have one more day to play in this wonderful Florida weather. Ohio is going to be cold when we get home!
Spring Trip Day 2 (3/2/04) - Today was a day of learning. We went into the first game not mentally ready and that hurt us. After St. Francis hit the ball in the first two innings we realized that there needed to be changes. We moved the players in the infield around and settled our nerves and decided to play our kind of softball. After holding them we still couldn't get our bats moving which hurt us after picking up our defense. Though the game ended in a loss a lot of knowledge was gained. We talked about the positive and negative things as a team and realized how important it is to have a team who is mentally ready to go.
For the second game we made sure that we were pumped up and ready to go. We had a whole different attitude going into this game because we knew what to change. We did very well playing against Weidner and as a team we played very strong. Sarah Betts did amazing again and had batters asking our catcher, Michelle Pleiman, "please don't throw her rise ball again"!
Overall we had a great day. Even though we added an L to our standings we came back with a big win. I think we all know how it feels to lose know and we don't want that again, so we will be more prepared before a game. My favorite part of the day was seeing time at first base and how well our team adjusted to situations we weren't used too.
Spring Trip Day 1 (3/1/2004) - Saturday morning arrived and at 7:00 a.m. we pulled out of Bluffton in two twelve-passenger
vans. The first van carried all the Junior and Seniors and was driven by Coach Spann
while all the "young ones" road with Coach Giessler. This made for an entertaining
trip while we had sing-a-longs, played catch phrase, told stories, and yelled at Coach
Spann as she kept us wondering about her driving.
After two long days of driving, trying to find any comfortable way to sleep in the vans and a random stop at Columbia Senior High School, in Florida to practice on a field, we finally arrived at our hotel. In shorts and t-shirts we excitedly unloaded our vans, unpacked and began to relax. After eating a home cooked meal made by fellow teammates we discussed our opponents for the next day's game, decided as a team which uniform to wear, and talked about how we wanted to appear as the Bluffton College Softball Team. Everyone was allowed to relax and get ready for tomorrow with "lights out" at11 p.m. As Amber and I, the captains, checked the rooms we had no problems with anyone being up because everyone was so exhausted after all the excitement of arriving in Florida and playing our first game then next day.
Morning finally arrived and the enthusiasm of everyone was at an extreme high. We left our hotel at 9 a.m., which was nothing after all those morning practices and made it to the field, carried all of our equipment up and tried to look as intimidating as possible. It apparently worked as we took the field and played incredible defense against Clarke. For the first game I felt that we looked very solid and it was a great way to begin the season with a win. Sarah Betts did an outstanding job starting us out with a shut out and producing 9 strikeouts. Our bats were a bit shaky in the beginning but as the game progressed you could see the confidence building. The highlight of the game for me was when Mandy Snider rocked a ball and scored me while making it to third herself.
The second game was another good win as we played Concordia. Again, defensively we were very solid and our freshman, Mikah Coffindaffer threw an awesome game leading us to a 2-1 victory. Again we made minor mistakes through out the game, but we recovered with the hits and with the defensive plays necessary. Overall the day was very successful as a lot was learned and confidence of playing on a real field was built. We are ready for another day of softball in the sun and it feels wonderful to have two W's under the belt. You can't ask for a better way to start your season!
Preseason (2/27/04) - The Bluffton Softball Program started off slowly this year without a coach. Thankfully Coach Spann was hired and with her inspiration, comedy, and intense practices she has helped to bring our team to a new level. Weight lifting began in November and an intense workout was given to us over Christmas break. January came and morning practices began at 5:30 every morning which meant the alarm clock rang at 4:30 a.m. After rolling out of bed for over two months every morning and lacking a lot of the college social life our hardwork and dedication has paid off. The season is finally here!
Starting the year off "Take Care of the Ball" became our team motto. We have pushed each other in preseason and our now ready to go outside and play on dirt, grass and in the sun. Our team has a special bond and we will use this to our advantage as we work together to accomplish our goals and win. I can't wait to step out on the field and play a game and I couldn't ask to do it with a better group of girls. I have the confidence in my team that we can accomplish great things this year and hopefully Florida will be an example of how hard we can work.