Softball opens season on Friday with JU Tournament
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It’s finally time for the JU softball team to play against someone in a different uniform as they open the 2011 season on Friday with the JU Tournament at the JU Softball Complex.

The Dolphins begin the first of two home tournaments in consecutive weekends against Buffalo, Bethune-Cookman, North Carolina and Kansas.

On Friday, the Dolphins host Buffalo at 4:15 p.m. before rounding out the night right after with Bethune-Cookman. JU plays North Carolina on Saturday at 4:15 p.m. and finishes the tournament with Kansas at 6:30 p.m.

“We are ready to start playing,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “Our kids have had a good week of practice and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do in live action against an actual opponent. This is a tough tournament for us, but it gives us good test right out of the gates.”

In 2010, JU recorded the second highest win total in program history (33) and the best home record under Lehotak (19-7) to secure the Dolphins second straight A-Sun Tournament. The Dolphins set a new single season record in ERA (2.11), while finishing second on the program list with 329 strikeouts and third in RBI with 175. They also placed a program-best five players on the A-Sun all-conference teams.

This season, the Dolphins return 12 players from last year’s squad including preseason all-conference selections-senior shortstop Katie Kelly and junior centerfielder Kayla Ouellet.

Kelly earned the honor for the second straight year after recording a team-best 34 RBI and 12 doubles. She enters the year just 15 RBI shy of the JU career record and 26 hits away from the all-time hits mark.

Ouellet finished the 2010 season with a team-best 66 hits, 32 runs and 16 stolen bases en route to first team all-conference honors. She also batted .427 in the postseason to receive A-Sun all-tournament accolades.

In the circle, sophomore Olivia Kline and junior Sarah Sigrest returns to help carry the load of the Dolphins’ pitching staff.

Kline posted a 10-7 mark in the circle with a single-season record 1.73 ERA to go along with 75 strikeouts and 125.2 innings. Sigrest is looking to bounce back from her sophomore season after making progress during the fall by fanning eight or more batters in all three appearances en route to a team-best 30 strikeouts.

Fans can see a full schedule of the games throughout the weekend by clicking the link at the top of the page.