Swinging in before you know it

Ferris softball ready for action

Not too many things spell out spring better than the smell of fresh cut grass and the sound of metal bats drilling another Ferris home run. 

Though it may seem far off, softball season is fast approaching and the Bulldogs have their sights on opening day. 

“As the season approaches, we have really been focused on having intensity and purpose with every rep we take during practice,” Ferris sophomore outfielder Jacki Stone said. “We have been working on getting stronger and faster all winter long and now we finally have the opportunity to put it all together and get rolling. On top of that, we have all been working on improving our knowledge on every aspect of the game.” 

The Bulldogs are coming off a season where they put together a 18-23 record. The Bulldogs went .500 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play with a 11-11 record, finishing seventh in the conference before ultimately falling to second seed Wayne State, 1-0 in the opening round of the GLIAC tournament. 

The Bulldogs will be heading into the 2018 season under new guidance as Kristin Janes was hired in July of 2017 as the program’s 12th head coach. Janes will replace Adam Kirkpatrick, who was named interim coach last season after former head coach Wally King moved onto the Division I level after leading the Bulldogs to a 36-18 record in 2016. 

Janes spent the previous five seasons rebuilding Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College’s program that sported a 0-42 record the year before her revival. Janes built the program into a competitor in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference which is considered one of the best conferences at the junior college level. 

“I love our coaching staff,” Ferris junior third baseman Lexi Hongisto said. “They understand that softball is incredibly important to us but they also understand it isn’t everything. They have done a great job so far and they’ve made it clear that they are not going anywhere anytime soon. Our coaching staff is incredibly committed to our team and they have made us all have a whole new love for the game. I can’t say enough good things about our coaches.” 

The Bulldogs were led last year by Hongisto, who sported a .321 batting average and team leading 23 extra-base hits, including six home runs. Hongisto’s power almost earned her a spot on the All-GLIAC conference team, as she was listed as an honorable mention for the team. Hongisto looks to lead the team back to the GLIAC tournament by season’s end. 

“We’d like to improve our record from last season but ultimately we’d like to make it to the GLIAC Tournament and show the other teams that we’re there to compete and win some games,” Hongisto said. 

The Bulldogs are scheduled to kick off their season with a trip to the University of Southern Indiana for a trio of double headers before heading down to Florida where they are scheduled to play 11 games during spring training. 

The Bulldogs will officially kick off their conference season on the road against Grand Valley State University (GVSU) on March 21.

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