DONALDSON — The beginning of the season has been a long waiting game for the 2013 version of Ancilla College softball.
The Lady Chargers have lost 10 different game dates to snow and cold weather to begin the season, and now the wait continues as their spring trip is getting closer each day.
“It’s been a tough early spring, weather-wise,” said Ancilla coach Scott Reese. “We try to get a tough non-conference schedule completed at home before going down south, but this year hasn’t cooperated with us.”
Ancilla is just a few days away from beginning their season in Clermont, Florida. After a 10-game stretch in the Sunshine State, Ancilla returns home and jumps right into its 32-game Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference season.
The Chargers are coming off their best season in school history, finishing 36-18 overall and 17-15 in the MCCAA West and earning their first trip back to the NJCAA Region XII tournament in five seasons. They will look to continue the momentum created last season with a totally different look.
Ancilla returns five starters from last year’s team, including the Region’s top returning pitcher as ranked by the NJCAA, Courtney Clark. Clark set the school record last season with 15 wins as part of a staff that saw three different pitchers collect 10 wins or more.
Middle infielders Kayleigh Schroeder and Cortney Ferrell also return for the Chargers. Schroeder returns her .350 batting average to the lineup, while Ferrell, with her ability to adjust to almost any situation with ease, will see herself filling in many different capacities for Ancilla this season. Outfielder Kayla Dell and catcher/outfielder Rohni Beck round out the returning starters. Beck set a school record for walks in a season (27) last year and will probably see most of her time behind the plate this season, while Dell may get an opportunity to show her wares a little at first base. Savanna Weaver also returns for the Chargers, as she waits for a release from her doctor to begin the season. When healthy Weaver could see time in the outfield or at first base.
Looking at the newcomers, pitching stands out for Ancilla. The Chargers add Plymouth graduate Marissa Sullivan, Brianna McClellan, Katherine Grady, Stephanie Lamm and Joelyn Flotow to their staff.
“We have a diverse staff this year,” said Reese. “I’m looking for the staff, as a whole, to pull together and make a name for itself in our Region.”
All of the staff plays secondary positions, as well.
Sullivan will probably see most of her time at shortstop, but can also play first base. Grady and Lamm may mix between first base and the outfield and first base, while McClellan and Flotow could also see time at first base.
Other newcomers include outfielders Emily Wilbur and Shelby McConnell, corner infielder Courtney Henning, and infielder/outfielder Hanna Moore.
“Each of these young ladies brings something special to our team,” Reese said. “It sounds very much like a cliché, but we are going to need an entire team effort to be successful this season.”