Softball Holds First Official Practice to Start the 2011 Season
Jan. 12, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Head coach Michelle Gardner and the 2011 edition of the Indiana University softball team officially got the season underway on Wednesday with their first practice inside Mellencamp Pavilion.
"It was great to be able to get everyone together again as a team and start working on some things as a team." Gardner said as she enters her third season. "I think they were very eager to get going and continue to work on getting better."
With the pitchers and catchers getting their work in first, the rest of the team warmed up and then quickly moved on to batting practice and tee work. After working on a variety of drills, they closed practice with defensive work and going over situations.
The Hoosiers have seven returning starters and 11 letterwinners coming back to with six newcomers that include two transfers and four freshmen. The most notable addition to the team is senior left-handed pitcher Morgan Melloh (Fishers, Ind.), who joined the Hoosiers over the summer after playing her first three seasons at Fresno State. With the Bulldogs, she established herself as one of the best strikeout pitchers in the country and enters this season with 1138 career strikeouts with a chance to move into the top 15 on the NCAA career strikeouts list by the end of the season.
Melloh is joins a senior class that includes Sara Olson (Orland Park, Ill.) and Kelsey Stander (Paradise Valley, Ariz.). Olson has done a little bit of everything in her career as she ranks ninth on the career home run list and has appeared in 89 games as a pitcher. Stander enters her third season with the Hoosiers and has been a base stealing threat ever since she arrived on campus. For her career, she is 34-of-38 in stolen base attempts and uses her speed to cover a lot of ground in the outfield.
Among the other notable returners, there is sophomore shortstop Breanna Saucedo (Ontario, Calif.) who was second on the team with a .323 average last year. Junior second baseman Samantha Berenter (Poway, Calif.) hit .255 last year and laced nine doubles while also coaxing a team-best 17 walks.
Behind the plate will be junior Cassie Gogreve (South Pasadena, Calif.), who was granted an injury hardship waiver and gained an additional year of eligibility. She led all BCS conference catchers and was fifth among all NCAA catchers with 23 runners caught stealing last year.
Rounding out the returning starters are sophomores Amanda Wagner (Burbank, Ill.) and Samantha Heyman (El Segundo, Calif.). Wagner saw time at first base and third base last year while hitting four home runs and becoming just the second freshman at Indiana to hit two home runs in a game. Heyman tracked down everything in centerfield and used her excellent arm to keep opponents from trying to take an extra base on balls hit into the gap.
The Hoosiers open the season on Thursday, Feb. 10, at the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. Up first in the season opener will be perennial power Arizona.
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