Softball Program on the Rise

After winning a total of 18 games in 2006 and 22 games in 2007, Head Coach Sarah Dawson and her Lady Techster softball team are on the way to a much higher win total in 2008.

In her first five years in Ruston, Dawson has battled injuries, player transfers, and youth while managing to win just over 36% of the team's games. Despite some success at the plate, the Techsters have not been able to put together a winning season in the last five years.

The hitting is still there this season, but the biggest change is the pitching depth. Dawson inherited a team that lacked depth and for the last five years, she had to get by with just one strong pitcher to work the majority of the innings. Marla Pinkston, Lindsey Meadows, and Krissi Oliver have been able to keep Tech in a lot of games over the years and win their fare share. Unfortunately, Dawson has not had a reliable second option to turn to when she needed a win.

Kristine Blodgette showed promise as a freshman, the transferred to a school closer to her home of Vancouver, Washington. Kristin Rupp battled injuries and inconsistency in her four years at Tech. Courtney Avery was not able to stay healthy and never got a chance to pitch on a regular basis.

Fast forward to 2008 and Coach Dawson has things looking up. The former All-American pitcher was able to bring in more than one top pitching prospect to work with and the depth is paying off. Krissi Oliver still leads the team in innings pitched by a wide margin, but she has not had to pitch in over half of the team's total innings. The Glendale, Arizona native has appeared in 22 games, pitching 107 innings.

Mandi Berstch from LaGrange, Texas and Meghan Kreig from Sonora, Texas have combined to pitch in 100 innings and combine for 11 of the teams 20 wins. Oliver leads the team with 20 starts and 8 wins, but her 2.29 earned run average is third on the team to Kreig (1.26) and Bertsch (1.74). Oliver is surely glad to have the help.

Two other true freshmen have also shown success on the mound. Wanda Malone from Ponder, Texas and Jordan Simmons from Elgin, Oklahoma have had a chance to show what they can do. The two pitchers have combined for a total of 50 innings pitched and a 4.00 earned run average.

Amberly Waits continues to lead the team in batting average (.409), home runs (6), and runs batted in with 29. Regan Clark leads the team in doubles with 8 and is second with 24 runs batted in. Emma Barnes and Kylie Bassett join Waits as the three regular players to bat over .300 on the year. Krissi Oliver and Danielle Sheridan have also had several big hits and each bat well over .250 for the season.

With the Techsters driving in runs like they have, led by Waits and Clark, they have put themselves in position to get that first winning season for Coach Dawson. It is going to happen soon and if it is going to happen this year, it will be because of the ability of Coach Dawson to be able to turn to a quality, fresh pitcher at any time.

Thanks to Bertsch, Kreig, and company, Krissi Oliver has a lot of help. The pitching staff will keep Tech in a lot of games down the stretch and hopefully the extra arms will bring more wins for Coach Dawson and her team.

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