Bluejay softball pushing toward .500 season

These seniors will anchor the Tabor College softball team this season:?(from left) Alysha Carter, Sarah Massey, Katie Henning, Megan Taylor, Liz Bromley.With the 2014 season well under way, the Tabor College softball team and fourth-year coach Suzanne Unruh have high hopes heading into conference play.

The Bluejays are 2-2 in KCAC play after opening the conference season with a doubleheader loss to Kansas Wesleyan then sweeping Bethel in two games last week. Tabor holds an overall record of 11-15.

The team?s success will be anchored around both returning and new talent.

That list begins with senior catcher Katie Henning, who is Tabor?s starting catcher. Henning was a second team All-KCAC selection a year ago and is a member of the 2014 preseason team. She is expected to be a force at the plate.

?(Katie is) one of our best and most consistent hitters,? Unruh said.

Senior centerfielder Sarah Massey, a first team All-KCAC selection a year ago and member of the 2014 preseason team, will also provide power.

?Sarah will stick the 4-hole in our lineup,? Unruh said. ?(She is) powerful and drives in runs, and is one of the best outfielders I have ever coached.?

Massey was a second-team All-KCAC selection in 2012.

The Bluejays bring new talent to the mound in freshman pitcher Marilee Burge, who is part of the 2014 preseason team.

?Marilee will be our No. 1 pitcher the rest of the season,? Unruh said.

The Tabor coach also mentioned the contributions of sophomore Chelsea Nutt?an All-KCAC honorable mention?at shortstop and junior Yasnaya Suesoff at second base.

?Chelsea and Yasnaya will be and have been amazing up the middle this year,? Unruh said. ?They work really well together. Both are consistent and very smooth.?

One strength of this year?s team is the contributions of the seniors.

?They provide great leadership on and off the field,? Unruh said.

Pitching will be a strong point this year. Two junior college transfers, Lauren Massey and Jaycie Morris, join Burge on the mound.

?(They) will make our pitching staff for conference games tough and provide us with great depth to go the distance,? Unruh said.

A challenge this year has been consistent hitting.

?We have just started to see our lineup come alive,? Unruh said. ?Our nine hitters in the lineup are very good hitters, providing speed where we need it and power to drive them in and produce home runs. We just need to be consistent and not leave base runners on base.?

Regarding the KCAC, Unruh said: ?We were picked to finish fifth, but we have high hopes and feel that this team is special and can get big wins through conference play.?

Additional teams to watch include Kansas Wesleyan, Bethany and Friends, which is ranked 24th in the Coaches? Top 25 poll.

Tabor was scheduled to play at Friends today at 5 p.m. and will travel to Southwestern Saturday at 1 p.m.

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