by Ty Schadt, Sports Editor

The softball team is set to open their season this evening in West Virginia against Bluefield State College, in hopes to set the tone for a successful 2017 campaign.

The Eagles haven’t had a winning season since 2011, and many players are hoping this can be the year they right the ship. Catcher/infielder and captain Sarah Woolums will be looking to lead the underclassmen-heavy team as they play through their 48-game schedule.

The program undertook massive changes this offseason. Most notably, first year coach Ron Anderson is at the helm. Inaugural seasons for coaches can be challenging for everyone involved with the team, but Anderson expressed an easy transition. “We had eight weeks of practices and games in the fall, and that will make our spring games smoother,” he said. The squad also lost five seniors and gained seven freshman. “All of our players were recruited by someone else, so it took some time for us to get to know each other,” said Anderson. Senior outfielder Kendall Anderson claimed the group of freshman is the “strongest we’ve ever brought in” and noted that they will play a big role on the team.

Despite all the new faces, several key players are returning. Anderson hit .244 last season and had a fielding percentage of .943. She also was named to the KIAC Second-Team All-Conference Team. Junior Alyssa Gaines scored a team-best 19 runs for the Eagles two season ago, and posted a .309 batting average.

Now, the unit has developed a tight bond and is eager to compete on the diamond. “We are going to go out and give our 110% at every practice and game and not give up,” said Woolums. It looks like the Eagles are in for a season of growth and development, and hopefully under Anderson’s tutelage they can create something special.