Mon, May. 21, 2012
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Lindsborg News Record
The Bethany College softball Swedes ended their 2012 season with a 1-2 record at the NAIA National Championships played in Gulf Shores, Ala.
"Our trip to Nationals was truly an experience that myself and our players will never forget," Head Coach Janice Esses said. "However, we know how hard it was to get here, so it is so important that our returning players work that much harder if we want to repeat our trip back here next spring," Esses added.
In Bethany's first game of the tournament versus Brenau (Ga.) on May 17, Esses said her team "came out a little too amped up and did not play Bethany softball." Bethany lost 1-7.
The team made errors that they wouldn't normally make, they didn't hit the ball very well and the team's pitching wasn't strong to start the game.
"Brenau is a solid team who ended up winning our pool and beating the number one team in the country. But I didn't feel we competed like we needed to," Esses said.
Nicole Felker hit one for two, hitting in Krista Copus for the team's sole score of the game. Copus was two for three.
Jennifer Garcia started for Bethany. Hollind Englert pitched the final four innings of the game.
In game two against number one Concordia (Calif.), Esses said her team "came out with fire and energy."
Bethany lost to Concordia 2-8.
Felker and Brittany Lewis both were one for four with one RBI. Jasmine Zaker was one for three with one run scored. Jamie Franco was two for three.
Englert started for Bethany in the circle. She had two strikeouts and seven earned runs. Allison Ruicker finished the final two innings.
"I was proud of the way we competed. We made a few mistakes that cost us some runs, but we played much better," Esses said. "We hit the ball much better but left 10 runners on base. We didn't get those clutch hits to bring in more runs. I felt much better in our effort and was really looking forward to our game against Talladega," Esses added.
In Bethany's last pool play game, the Swedes defeated Talladega 7-3.
Aggressive base running led to 10 stolen bases, an NAIA tournament record. Zaker also broke the individual tournament record for stolen bases in a game with five bases stolen.
Zaker was four for four with two RBI's and three runs scored. Felker was two for four with two runs scored. Franco was one for four with one RBI.
Garcia was in the circle for Bethany for four innings. She had five strikeouts and allowed two earned runs. Englert pitched the final three innings. She had one strikeout.
"I was really proud of our team to leave Alabama with their first win in the national tournament," Esses said."We brought a young team here and this experience will make us better next year. We know the level that we need to play at if we want to return to the national tournament," Esses added.
The softball Swedes finished the season with a 45-9 overall record. Esses said she is most proud of the way her team handled themselves both on and off the field.
"They have faced adversity and challenges, but it has never thrown them off course of meeting their goals. They grew together as a family from day one and the relationships they have built with each other will last a lifetime," Esses said.
"I am also very thankful for the support from the college, administration, faculty, staff, and the Lindsborg community. I am proud that our team has represented Bethany, the KCAC, and the Lindsborg community in a very positive way. A special thanks to the Lindsborg Quarterback Club for their continued support," Esses said.