The Emporia State softball team ended last season with a record of 42-17, winning the
MIAA Regular Season and advancing to the NCAA Division II Championship game. The Hornets opened the 2009 season with a record of 3-1 with all four games on the road and ranked 25th in the nation.
Before the season started, ESU and Nebraska-Omaha tied for first place in the MIAA Coaches Poll with 94 points each.
The Hornets brought back three new players to join the roster this season. One newcomer is freshman pitcher Jennifer Heerey, followed by sophomore Utility Player Abby Hughes, who transferred from Nebraska, as well as junior In fielder Lindsay Bower, who transferred from Johnson County Community College.
“Our main goal is to win the National Championship,” said Kristi Bredbenner, head softball coach. “For a lot of programs they can’t say that just because it is not realistic. For us it is something realistic.”
The Hornets split their first double header last Friday winning the first game 8-4. Junior Outfielder Jenna Potter hit a double with bases loaded in the top of the eighth inning, contributing to the win.
The Hornets lost their second game 7-4 against 18th nationally ranked Colorado School of Mines where Heerey gave up six hits and five earned runs.
“I think they were ready,” Bredbenner said. “It might have been a little tough making the transition going out on the field. We were a little rusty in some areas but we definitely picked it up with our hitting.”
After Friday’s match ups, the Hornets won their second double header, scoring 5-2 in the first game and 6-4 in the second match. Junior infielder Miranda Campbell went two for two with two runs batted in against CSM.
“The first weekend I thought we did great,” Bredbenner said. “I thought the pitchers pitched well and we got enough hits to score enough runs to win those games.”
The Hornets are in second place in the MIAA and ranked second in team batting with 52 homeruns and 307 runs batted in. On the other side of the mound, the Hornets are ranked second in team pitching with an ERA of 2.10.
ESU will play their first opponent in the MIAA Feb.14 in the Abilene Christian Tournament. The Hornets will go on to play their first home game March 13 for the start of the ESU Spring Tournament in Emporia.
“The last couple tournaments we really want to focus on getting acclimated,” Bredbenner said. “We want to get out on the field and work on the things that we need to work on to be a better softball team so that when we get to conference play in the MIAA we are ready to go.”
Cristian Echeverria/The Bulletin