One win away from matching the team total for last season, the Tabor College softball team is looking to improve while developing its young talent.
?This year with all the freshmen we brought in last year that are now sophomores, and a new class of freshmen, we have a very good core,? said coach John Bassett. ?We?re just very, very young.?
Gaining experience in the fall season, where the Bluejays finished 4-3-1, the young squad started the spring season 5-1, but have since lost eight straight games through March 26.
Having had some success will help the team gain confidence.
?It showed the players we had last year and two years ago that we?re no longer a doormat to the KCAC,? Bassett said.
Tabor is working with a new pitching staff this season. Freshman Roxanne Rodriguez has made the most impact, throwing a no-hitter against Haskell Feb. 26. Ranked second in the KCAC in earned-run average, opponent batting average and strikeouts per nine innings, Rodriguez has pitched three shutouts and was named KCAC pitcher of the week for March 7-13.
The No. 2 pitcher is freshman Katelin Thompson. Sophomore Rae?Shon Johnson is No. 3.
?They both do a very good job as change-of-pace pitchers,? Bassett. ?Roxanne comes in throwing in the low 60s (miles per hour) and Katelin and Rae?Shon come in and they throw mid to upper 50s, and it really throws people off balance.?
Through 10 games, Tabor had three players in the top 30 in batting average in the KCAC.
Senior third baseman Ashley Cohlmia is ranked eighth with a .417 average. Senior Aubrey Whitehorn, who received KCAC honorable mention as an outfielder in 2009, is ranked 21st at .357.
?(Whitehorn) has really shortened up her stroke and is a brand new hitter for us, and really surprised us,? Bassett said.
Junior infielder Roxanne Rodriguez is ranked 23rd in the KCAC?at .350. Junior transfer Margaret Cornish sits at 25th at .333.
?(Cornish) is very good at being an on-field leader and general,? Bassett said.
Getting it done at the plate as well as the mound, freshman pitcher Rodriguez is 26th in hitting with a .324 average.
Tabor will look to freshman catcher Taylor Funk to lead them defensively. Funk plays the unusual role as a freshman captain.
?She fits the bill perfectly,? Bassett said. ?Most of the girls respect her. They don?t have any issues from her. She?s a strong Christian student involved in other activities. She plays volleyball as well. She?s very good, offensively and defensively.?