Bluejay softball team making progress in 2011

The Tabor College softball team will look to their experienced upper-classmen and all-conference players to lead them to a successful season this spring.

The Bluejays? only senior, Margaret Cornish, was an all-conference player at second base last year and has played shortstop and outfield.

?She is a very consistant hitter, makes very few strikeouts, and will put the ball in play,? coach Suzanne Unruh said. ?She?s our lead-off hitter and can play anywhere but pitcher to help our team be the best defense we can be.?

Unfortunately for the Bluejays, Cornish dislocated her thumb in their March 18-19 tournament at Sterling College and is predicted to be out for a month.

Sophomore Taylor Funk was also an all-conference player last season and is likely to be a key player for Tabor.

Unruh said Funk has brought tremendous success to the Bluejays? defense, leading the pitching staff and outfielders. She is Tabor?s starting catcher this season.

?She is very vocal and keeps the defense in line,? Unruh said. ?She is very smart and knows how to call a game well.

?She will hit in one of our power spots in the lineup, as we expect for her power to drive in runs. Taylor has the ability to hit the ball hard through the infield for base hits, but can also hit home runs at any given time.?

Ashly Hernandez and Kyleen Condon are the Bluejays? top pitchers and are among the best in the conference.

?These two have worked very hard through the off-season months, working on velocity, new pitches and control of their pitches,? Unruh said. ?Their control on the mound will be crucial to our success for the remainder of the season.?

A strong junior class should add depth to the lineup. Amanda Howe, Andrea Bray, Samantha Behm and Rae?Shon Johnson have all earned starting positions this year.

?They have come in this year, and got the job done defensively and provided strength in our offense as well,? Unruh said. ?I am so proud of them all and grateful for their hard work and dedication to the team.?

Tabor?s strong hitting game should fuel the team. The Bluejays are hitting over .350 as a team and already have more than 12 home runs, in comparison to the six homers they posted all last season.

?We are a very strong hitting team,? Unruh said. ?We have come a long way since our fall season. These girls work hard every day at practice and give me their 100 percent every time.?

The Bluejays have a 12-12 record so far this season, and look to better last season?s 16-25 mark.