Pioneers expect successful campaign in 2010

Saturday, Mar. 20, 2010 12:00 am

The Grinnell College softball team narrowly missed making the Midwest Conference Tournament last season. But with a combination of experience and youth, the Pioneers are hoping to get over that hump in 2010.

“Making the Midwest Conference Tournament is definitely a realistic goal,” said interim head coach Craig Arendt (pictured). “Our goal would be to host it (the MWC South champ hosts in 2010). The conference will be very competitive. I think we’ll be better than last year.”

Grinnell was in the hunt to make the MWC Tournament last season until the team’s final games of the season. Grinnell finished 6-7 in league play and 9-22 overall.

Grinnell returns a pair of All-Midwest Conference South Division First-Teamers, Brianna Gallo ’11 (.340 batting average, 20 runs, 11 stolen bases) and Amanda Stromquist ’12 (.329 batting average, 15 RBIs). Kelsey Montgomery ’11 (.273 batting average, 16 RBIs) was a Second-Team selection.

Here is a breakdown of the 2010 Pioneer squad:

Pitchers:

Hannah Bauman ’13 will be the team’s top pitcher. “She’ll be a big part of the team … we’re going to ask a lot of her,” said Arendt. “If she has a good year, then we’ll have a good year.”

Rounding out the staff will be Stromquist and Veronica Reavis ’11. “We hope to get a lot of innings out of all of our pitchers.”

Catchers:

Julia Reese ’10 returns from a season of injury to catch for the Pioneers. “It’s great to have her back, and she’ll get a bulk of the catching duties,” said Arendt. Hannah Ney ’11 and Hannah LaFollette ’11 may also see action at that spot.

Infield:

Montgomery returns at first base, Gallo at second and Jayme Wiebold ’12 (.313 batting average) at shortstop. “We’re very experienced at most of the infield spots,” said Arendt. “Third base is the one place we need to fill.” That will be by Ney, Reavis and perhaps Gallo at times.

Outfield:

Ney will also play the outfield, with Christina Colver ’13, LaFollette, Stromquist and Reavis also spending time there. Jessica Menary ’13 and Kelly Zucker ’13 will shore up the outfield.

Arendt’s overall hopes for the team are optimistic. “Pitching can be a strength, and with three All-Conference players returning I see good things,” he said. “We have very solid hitters in the lineup and they’re smart players who understand the game. We’re going to have to plug a few holes and can’t afford to have injuries, but other than that I think we’re looking good.”

Arendt also said the schedule will help the team. “We’ve got some very good opponents on the schedule, but that’s going to just help us down the road,’ he said.

Kate Gluckman is the assistant coach, and Brooke Yoder ’12 is serving as a student assistant coach. “Kate is a huge asset to this program and to me,” said Arendt. “She goes a great job. And Brooke will help a lot with the pitchers and catchers. She’s another set of eyes that can see what’s going on out on the field.”