TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 2011
JU perfect in fall season schedule
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Never mind that it was fall softball, anytime a team lines up eight times to play anything and comes out with eight wins it’s something to hang the hat on.

That’s exactly what happened to the Jacksonville University softball team when it went 8-0 in the recently concluded fall season as new head coach Ali Higgs and her staff was able to get a good look at both veterans and incoming freshmen.

“I am really happy with our fall season,’’ Higgs said. “Fall is the time to see where our kids are at individually, to see where the freshmen stack up to the returners and to evaluate the team as a whole.’’

What she saw must have been encouraging.

Among the hitters, freshman Ronnie Gajownik, an infielder from Chuluota, Fla., went 9-for-14 for a .643 average to lead the team and a pair of returners also ended the fall above .500.

Catcher Sarah Simon and infielder Amanda Schmidt, both returning from last year’s NCAA tournament team that had a 44-16 record, combined for 25 hits.

Simon, a junior from New Port Richey, Fla., was 11 of 19 for a .579 average and Schmidt banged out a team high 14 hits on her way to a .560 average. Schmidt hit a home run as part of her effort.

Senior outfielder Kayla Ouellet also had a hit total in double figures as she was 11-for-28 in the fall for a .393 average. She is one of only four seniors on the team.

“We saw a lot of good things out of freshmen,’’ Higgs said. “I feel like they really progressed from the first week out, and most of our returners picked up where they left off last May.’’

Higgs also said the team understands expectations placed on it because of last year’s venture to the tournament.

“Our team knows that the bar has been set and that there are a ton of things we can take from these experiences and work to improve on in the off-season,’’ she said. “I am looking forward to working in smaller groups and getting better every day.’’