Hot bat in the hot corner

Third baseman Lexi Hongisto’s bat provides boost for the Bulldogs

Ferris sophomore third baseman Lexi Hongisto has helped Ferris stay in contention for the GLIAC Tournament by leading the Bulldogs in home runs, doubles, RBIs, batting average and slugging percentage. Photo by: Aubrey Kemme | Multimedia Editor

In a season full of curveballs, Ferris State Softball’s sophomore third baseman Lexi Hongisto has provided stability and power at the plate.

Hongisto, a public relations major from Gladstone, transitioned from shortstop to third base this year and hasn’t missed a step as she leads the team with six home runs, 16 doubles, 30 RBIs and a .352 batting average.

Hongisto’s work ethic and knowledge of the game made the transition to third base a seamless one.

“You can tell that Lexi is passionate about the game of softball,” said Ferris shortstop Sarah Johnson. “She has a love and understanding for the sport and that makes her great on the field. She works hard in practice, and she puts in the time to make herself the best player she can be.”

Hongisto has been a force at the plate this year, batting .347 with 20 multi-base hits. Hongisto has been batting in the third and fourth spots of the lineup and has used the extra chances with runners in scoring position to elevate her game.

“When there’s runners in scoring position I think I always do better. I don’t change my approach but I just think it would really suck if a hitter in front of me got on with two outs and I didn’t do anything to hit them in,” Hongisto said.

Crediting her dad and summer ball in helping her prepare for the college season, Hongisto’s biggest adjustment came when she was asked to move to third base where she has certainly noticed a difference from shortstop.

“It is 100 percent different from shortstop. It’s called the hot corner for a reason,” Hongisto said. “I get balls hit at me so hard and I don’t have any time to think about it. It’s all just reaction time.”

The team went down to Florida for spring training before coming back up for conference play that has seen the team go 7-9, good enough for ninth in the conference. Hongisto has been the driving force behind the Bulldogs effort to get back into contention for the GLIAC tournament where they’ll look to win their first championship since 2000.

“Lexi never stops grinding for improvement and for the win at the end of the day,” said Ferris second baseman Logan Fleming. “That is something that is very important for the team, to have someone like her who just doesn’t stop fighting until the last pitch and the last out. She feeds out this intense vibe that grows on people to just never give up.”

Hongisto and the rest of the Bulldogs return to the diamond in a doubleheader against Walsh University 1 p.m. Saturday, April 22, in Big Rapids.