Softball rounds out fall season

The JU softball team grinded through its fall campaign as the Dolphins started their first steps in preparing for the 2010 season.

Despite having three starters out with injuries, the Dolphins battled to a pair of doubleheaders splits against Florida State College. They also split a twin bill with Seminole State College before finishing with two close losses to Savannah College of Art & Design.

“This was a tough fall for us,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “Due to the injuries, we had to throw our new players into the fire right away to start competing. We were inconsistent at times on offense, but I loved the power we showed. Our pitchers performed well and they will be the most competitive group we have once we get to the spring. Overall, we made some good strides during the fall and we look forward to getting back at it in January.”

Offensively, freshman catcher Sarah Simon paced the Dolphins after hitting .370 (10-27) with three doubles and two RBI. She had six of the 10 hits in the final three contests and caught every inning during the fall.

Junior shortstop Katie Kelly had a team-best four RBI to go along with a .320 (8-25) average, while junior outfielder Katarina Engler hit .278 (5-18) with a double and an RBI in eight games.

In the circle, sophomore Sarah Sigrest fanned a staff-best 16 batters in 18.2 innings. Senior Ashley Iveson finished with 15 strikeouts, while allowing only four hits and one walk in 11 innings of work.

After a tough first appearance, senior Brittany Abbott allowed just one unearned run on five hits and struck out seven batters in seven innings against Florida State College on Oct. 7.

Freshman Olivia Kline had nine strikeouts in three appearances in the circle, while junior Jackie Samuels came back from injury in the final fall contest to toss 3.2 innings against SCAD.

JU will retun 14 players from the 2009 squad that battled through several injuries to finish the year with the second-best record in school history and make the A-Sun Tournament for the first time since 2005. The Dolphins also produced two five-game winning streaks, which are both tied for the second longest stretches in the program’s existence.

The Dolphins open the 2010 season at the JU Softball Complex on Feb. 12 against UNC-Greensboro. First pitch is scheduled for 4:45 p.m.