Season Week 7 (4/26/04) - The last week of regular season Bluffton Softball has come to a close. It is hard to believe that we are finished with regular season games. Of course we still have a conference tournament to play in, and we are looking forward to that.
The week started off well. We were back to our normal routine of working hard and playing hard throughout practice. We had a huge week ahead of us. We were concentrating on Defiance first though. That game was huge for us, not only for HCAC standings, but school pride as well. I did not realize the huge rivalry between Bluffton and Defiance . Boy did I have an eye opening experience. I had rivalries in with teams in high school, but never nearly as intense as this rivalry. We came out fired up. We scored first and were having a great time. All of a sudden a few errors allowed them to tie the game. We never quite recovered. Defiance scored again and we could not. That loss was another wake up call for us. We decided that we wanted the next game more than they did. So we went out, played well, laughed off our errors, and hit the ball. That win felt so good.
We came back for practice on Friday. We had our moments but turned it into a productive practice that got us ready for Anderson on Saturday. Then we headed to coach's house for a spaghetti dinner. Usually crazy things happen when we all get in a small area like that. However, we were all pretty calm. We were tired from the stress of the last week of classes and finals week. So we ate, chatted a little bit and headed back for an early bedtime. We were all in bed by our 10 pm curfew.
Saturday morning was beautiful. It was the perfect softball weather. The sun was out but it was not blazing hot and the breeze was cool but not overpowering. We were ready for Anderson . We got the field ready and then did our usual warm up for the game. We were unusually quiet. I still haven't figured out why. We honored our seniors (Devo, Payne, and Fitz we will miss you tons! You are all a vital part of this team! We love you!) and got ready to play. Anderson was tough. We were locked in a 0-0 tie the entire game. We had runners in scoring position but could not get them in. Finally in the bottom of the 9th inning we had bases loaded and Lane Leedy made Anderson make an error and the runner on third scored. It was a great feeling to finish that game in a big way. Then we decided that we wanted the second game more than they did. Our patience at the plate increased and we hit the ball well. We scored early and often. We had so much fun playing Beaver Softball.
After we won the second game we had a cookout with the team and parents. The grilled hamburgers tasted really good. Plus parents brought good home cooked food for us to eat. We sat around and chatted and headed our separate ways. Thanks to all the parents that brought food and for all your support during this season. Now we are ready for the HCAC tournament. We want to keep playing Beaver Softball and having a great time doing what we love to do.
Season Week 6 (4/19/04) - Wow! What a week! We were flying high after splitting withMt. St. Joe
and winning both against Transy. We were even lucky enough to get Monday off! We came back Tuesday to get ready for Case Western Reserve. We started off that practice kind of rough. The day off was nice, but we weren't ready to go. We got it together and did our scouting report for Case Western.
Tuesday came and we all had weird feelings, but we didn't tell each other that something just didn't seem right. First of all, we were playing as the visitors at our own field. The game was originally scheduled to be away, but Case doesn't have a field this year for some reason so we played it here. We got ready to play, but we weren't our normal selves. I don't think we know what that was to this day. We took the loss the first game. Afterwards in the huddle none of us really knew what to say. We were all baffled at the way we had just played. We got it together and took the win the second game.
Practice went on as normal on Wednesday. We worked hard to fix what went wrong against Case and worked on preparing for Franklin . Thursday was a unique practice. Again we weren't quite sure what was wrong. Friday we took time and decided we wanted to play real Beaver Softball. We had forgotten the true fun we have playing this game. It had become something we do instead of something we do for the glory of God. So Friday after a little team chat we were playing Beaver Ball again. We were ready for Franklin . We went into that game with nothing to lose. We just wanted to play softball and have a great time.
We came out with patience at the plate. That paid off when perfect pitches were thrown we capitalized and hit them hard. We were having fun playing a game we love and that God has given us the ability to play. It felt good to play well and play for him. We took both games from Franklin which put us in the lead for the conference. We are looking at one more week of conference games and then conference tournament. It is back to the regular work schedule of Bluffton Softball.
Season Week 5 (4/12/04) - So after our eventful weekend we started getting ready for Thomas More. We had a very exciting beginning to the week and we wanted to play on Tuesday. We came out and started playing right away. Thomas More would not go away though. They jumped out to an early lead. Then we woke up and realized we needed to hit. We did and took the lead 4-2. However, we couldn't hold our ground. They took the lead 5-4 in the top of the 7th inning. We could not pull through in our half and took the loss 5-4.
We learned a lot from that loss. We couldn't take the little things for granted. When we got the lead we couldn't stop playing, they sure didn't. The second game we decided to turn things around. We got pumped up again and came out swinging. Thomas More didn't give up though. They came back and tied us 5-5 in the 7th inning. Again we didn't hit in our half of the 7th inning. They picked up where they left off and scored again in the 8th. This time we decided we needed to hit. We did a few things and then we were tied, the bases were loaded with two outs. The excitement was so intense. We were ready for the next great hit to come. A little bloop hit was all it took from Lindsey Miller. Amanda DeVaul slid in at home plate to score the winning run. Talk about intense!
We decided the loss to Thomas More did good things for us. It brought us back down to planet earth. We didn't focus on it. We just started in on Wednesday trying to get ready for our big HCAC weekend. Mt. Saint Joseph was first on the list on Friday. Again we came out ready to play. We worked hard and won the game 3-1. The second game they came out more intense than we did. They started off the game hitting and we never really recovered. We held them, but we could not get our bats going. Again we decided to learn from our loss rather than dwell on it. We drove down to Lexington and got ready for Transylvania .
We got up early enough to head to Bob Evans for breakfast. We had great service and the manager was very nice to us. We headed back to the hotel to change and do final preps for the game. (In this case it included hanging our uniforms over the balcony to dry just a little more! Thanks for doing laundry Fitz and Coach Giessler!) We got to Transy's field a little after 11 A.M. Their coach was very surprised to see us. We had beaten her players there! We did our warm up and stayed in our groove. We made sure our SI (Smile Index) was high!
We just relaxed and played Beaver softball. Sarah pitched a great first game and we came out with the win 4-0. The next game we came out just as intense, but they scored first. The top of the 7th inning came and we were still down 1-0. We had runners on 2nd and 3rd base and Mandy Snider made a key hit that scored both to put us ahead 2-1. We had come through in a tough game again. Now we just had to play defense for 3 more outs. Sarah pitched wonderfully and our defense backed her up when she needed help. We pulled out another win 2-1.
We headed out to find a place to eat dinner. Applebee's was the place to be that night. We all ordered an exciting array of grilled chicken entrees and had a good time in each other's company. The very exciting part was when our waitress informed us of the "birthday" on our team. We all gathered around and had a good time singing and embarrassing (if that is possible) Coach Spann. I'm sure that will be a remembered event for a long, long time.
Season Week 4 (4/5/04) - What an interesting week in the lives of Bluffton softball players. We came back from Hanover ready to work. The back of our field used to be filled with bushes, dead trees, brush, and other random things that hide foul balls very easily. That all changed on Sunday. Parents came and helped us out. We cleared about 30 truckloads of brush from behind our field. Now it is so much easier to find foul balls and it is much more appealing to look at. It looks like a totally different field. Thank you to everyone who came and helped us out.
We spent Monday and Tuesday working on the things we felt we should have done better on during the Hanover games. We did a lot of hitting and in general just worked hard. Wednesday came and it was cold, very cold. We were ready to play though. We bundled up and headed out to our field to get it ready to play on. It was wet and muddy. Right field had tire tracks in it from driving the trucks back to haul out all the brush. We managed though and surprised Manchester by winning both games.
We continued to work hard on Thursday and Friday during practice. Practice became a little more specialized and we worked on our individual skills. These skills, when fine tuned and put together, make up the Bluffton softball team.
We were ready for Rochester on Saturday. We got up bright and early to eat breakfast and pull out by 8:30 A.M. We were headed to Rochester MI , not Rochester IN. We ended up stopping at Burger King at about 11 A.M. for some last minute nourishment. The manager of Burger King was amazed that we were only allowed to eat certain things on the menu and that we actually stuck with it. Almost everyone on the team ordered a Chicken Whopper and water.
After a little searching we finally found Rochester 's field. It was covered in pea gravel, not such a pleasant surface for sliding on. We changed and Rochester still wasn't at the field. We had gotten there before the home team again. We warmed up and were ready to go. We came out hitting. We won the first game 7-1. The second game we knew that we needed to turn it up a notch and play our kind of softball. Calm, collected, dominate, Beaver Softball. We did that and won in 5 innings 9-0.
The ride home from anywhere is always an interesting one. This one especially was. Things were going fine until we got close to Toledo . We made a pit stop for what some thought was a bathroom break. We finally all got situated, well as situated as you can get with a teammate with horrible back spasms, and were on the road again. Finally, the back spasms got so bad we decided to head to the emergency room. Oh the looks of the other emergency room patients when a group of 20 college women all dressed alike walk in. So about 2 or 2 hours later, after some pain medicine and medicine to make muscles relax, we were on the road back to Bluffton.
Season Week 3 (3/29/04) - We started off the week ready to go. We were anxious to play because the last two games we were scheduled to play were cancelled. There was even more excitement because we were playing Heidelberg . Coach Giessler graduated from there so we were ready to prove we were the better team. We did just that. We played our type of softball and took both games. Sarah Betts did another amazing job pitching and we all had a good time.
Friday we traveled to Hanover for our conference opener. We left at noon so we could get to Hanover and practice before the game on Saturday. It felt great to get out of the vans after the long drive through the hills and back roads. Of course we had our fair share of excitement. The second van was still filled with the questions "What is she doing? Where is she going? Why are we stopping?"
Well we took over Hanover 's field when we got there. We had a good practice and headed out for dinner. Then back to the hotel where we did random things. Mostly we just hung out and got ready for bed. We were all surprised at the 11 pm curfew. It was late for us! I think most of us were in bed before that anyway though, at least my room was.
We got up and headed to eat breakfast on Hanover 's campus. We ate right beside their team. It was actually pretty fun. We went in as a team and started off making them look at us in awe. We headed to the field. We even beat them there which may have rattled them a little. The game had a rocky start, but we pulled above it and played our type of softball. We never let up after we won the first game. Allison Lange started off our second game scoring with her first home run of the season. We were all pumped and we knew from the dugout that as soon as it hit her bat it was going to go over the fence. It is an amazing feeling watching your teammate hit a homerun to straight away center.
This pumped our team up even more. We kept the scoring going. Sure enough they made another mistake. They pitched to Allison again. She hit another homerun, this time to left center. We never missed a step. We all charged out of the dugout once again to greet Allison after she stepped on home plate for her second homerun of the game. This put her as the all time leader for home runs in Bluffton College history. The best part was we took both games. They underestimated us.
Then it was back to the vans. We grabbed a quick dinner and we on the road again. It is such a long drive. The roads close to Hanover were narrow and full of sharp curves. Not to mention we were in the mountains. We made it back safe and sound with two more wins under our belts and leading the conference.
Season Week 2 (3/22/04) - Well, since Mother Nature didn't cooperate with us we were all pretty disappointed. Both games we were scheduled to play were cancelled. Tuesday we were all pumped for a home game. Then the snow came. I was so disappointed to wake up Tuesday morning and see the ground covered with snow. So we had to resort to indoor practice. It is such an adjustment after being outside in the grass and dirt. Friday we were able to go out to the practice football field in preparation for our game on Saturday. Talk about different. I thought our outfield had a lot of bumps. It was really rough and very different having an infield like the outfield. We had a good time and got some hits in. We were ready to play.
Saturday morning came. I was up early and at breakfast when they opened. We were scheduled to leave at 8 A.M. We ate really fast and got ready to load the bus. We were getting ready to load and coach started walking towards us and the bus drove away. Immediately we assumed the worst. Olivet's field was wet, very wet. It was also supposed to rain on and off throughout the morning. The good news was that the game wasn't cancelled yet. We were going to bring up some diamond dry to help with the wetness. The game was postponed until 2:30 . That gave us an hour and a half to wait. Well, living in Ropp I didn't want to come all the way back to my dorm for an hour and a half. So we got a good game of Euchre in to pass the time. Others slept, played basketball or volleyball in the gym, or just hung out. Then 9:30 came. We packed up our stuff and were ready to load the bus and head to MI. However, once again we saw the bus pull away without us on it. The field was too wet to play on. Our second game in a row was cancelled. So we hit the basketball court for a little running to keep us in shape and took the rest of the weekend off. Hopefully we will get some good weather this week so we can get a few more wins for our record.
Season Week 1 (3/15/04) - So now we are back from the lovely Florida weather. We're back to the cold, wind, rain, and yes the snow. We started off the week working hard. We were outside getting our lungs used to the cold weather. Running twenty minutes outside is different than running thirty minutes inside. Our lungs were burning and our hands and ears were freezing. We made it though. Some of us even finished up the run with a wonderful roll down a big hill. Talk about going back to childhood. It was a lot of fun though.
By the time Thursday came around we were ready to play again. So far the weather had cooperated with us. We had been able to be outside practicing every day. By the end of practice we were all pumped and ready for Kalamazoo . We had the challenge of having to go through the entire day thinking about school before we got to play on Friday. This was a new experience for us. After all, we were used to going to bed thinking about softball, dreaming of softball, getting up thinking about softball, and then playing softball in Florida.
However, by mid-morning, much to our dismay the game against Kalamazoo was cancelled. We all just wanted to play, but they obviously didn't. So we went to Coach Spann's house for dinner and "team bonding" (As if we aren't already bonded enough) We had a good time eating together, playing catch phrase (ask Coach Spann how her team did), and just sitting around talking. We all made it back in time for our curfew. After all, we had our actual first home game on Saturday.
Saturday was here. We got up early to hit in the cage, eat breakfast, and warm up for the game. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful, crisp day for softball. Throughout the team there was a sense of excitement. We were not going to be underestimated anymore. We were back from Florida and playing in front of our large home crowd. (Thanks to everyone who braved the cold and watched us all afternoon) What a wonderful feeling. We came out strong and never lost control. I felt like we had the momentum the entire two games. Sarah Betts pitched 2 awesome games and Adrian never did catch up. It was great to start our home season off with 2 big wins. (1-0, 3-1).
Spring Trip Day 4 (3/4/04) - So now we had one day left in Florida. The heat was turned on high. We had two games in the afternoon so it was a little different schedule for us. We got up and headed to Bob Evans for breakfast which was a nice chance from the same old continental breakfast at the hotel that we had been eating for the last 3 days. We started playing at about 12:30 pm. We were up against Wartburg. They too had a great pitcher. They played solid defense and had timely hits. We played great defense but our bats weren't quite as active as theirs. We ended up losing 2-0. However, after the game we were informed that Wartburg is ranked 8th in the nation. We were really happy with how we played and happy that we proved that we could stay with a team that is nationally ranked.
Then we had a small break to relax and watch some Division I teams play. Then we took the field again at about 4:30. We were up against Milwaukee School of Engineering. We came out swinging. Sarah also came out pitching really well. They just couldn't catch up to her pitches. We ended up winning by the mercy rule 8-0 in the 5th inning. There was also a catch in this game. Sarah Betts pitched a no-hitter! It was a great way to end the trip.
However, the trip wasn't really over. We went back to the hotel to shower and get ready to drive for a while. The coaches decided they didn't want to sit in vans with a bunch of stinky softball players while they drove. We ended up leaving our hotel at about 7 pm . We had slightly smaller van loads this time though. There were only 10 players/managers driving back to Florida . We drove for 2 or 3 hours. I am not really sure because I stretched out on the back seat and took a little snooze. We found a hotel and then we all crashed so we could get up and drive again Friday.
Friday morning was another early one. We were done eating breakfast and on the road again at 7:30 a.m. We drove and drove .and drove .and drove some more. Of course there were fun little games played in the van along with random naps and great getting to know you better sessions in the 2nd van. (The best van of course!) We finally got back to Bluffton at about 9 pm on Friday night. We were all exhausted but traveled our own separate ways for the weekend.
So we came back to Bluffton with a 6-2 record and smiles on our faces. We had lots of fun and we got to hang out in the Florida sun! (Notice that I was the one person everyone worried about getting sun burnt. I did not get burnt at all!!!!!! Gotta love SPF 45 being put on twice a day!) I know that it was an experience that I will never ever forget.
Spring Trip Day 3 (3/3/04) - Last night we grilled out on the beach. After we let Michelle Plieman handle the
fire (what were we thinking?) with help from others grilling the chicken. We ended
and everyone still had all their hair and all limbs attached with no burn other than
sunburn. We had a huge meal of spaghetti and meatballs, chicken grilled in Italian
dressing and barbeque sauce, vegetables also cooked on the grill. We topped it off
with a fruit desert and peanut butter pie courtesy of Mrs. Lange. Then we had the
usual scouting report and off to bed.
This morning was an early morning for us. We had two games back to back right away in the morning. We pulled out of the hotel at about7:15 AM. This was no sweat for us. After all, we had been up at4:30 for the last 2 months for practice! Game one was a lot of fun. We ended up getting the shut out and winning 5-0.
We were on the same field for game 2. This made it seem like we had been playing forever! It just seemed like our competition changed uniforms and we just kept playing. This was another fun game for us. We broke it wide open and kept our momentum from the first game. We ended up winning 8-6.We were left with the entire afternoon and evening to ourselves. Most people went off with their parents or parents of some sort. So a few of us went with the coaches to Olive Garden for lunch. Then most of them went to one of the many outlet malls shopping. Carrie and I decided that we needed naps. Then we hit the pool and hot tub. Oh what a wonderful feeling on a warm Florida afternoon. Now it is time for dinner. Watch out coach let us order pizza. No pepperoni though "It is just like eating French fries!" - Coach Spann
Spring Trip Day 2 (3/2/04) - Well after yesterday's wonderful victories we decided to head out for a nice dinner. We chose to head to TGIFriday's. We packed all 19 players, coaches, and managers in, plus we added about 20 parents. Our fan base down here is huge! We have awesome parents supporting us (or just coming down for the wonderful vacation in the Florida Sun!). We ate a wonderful meal and sat around and enjoyed each other's company for a long time. We even had time to go over the scouting reports for today's competition.
We had 2 games again today. We played St. Francis first. We started in a rut and never could quite get out of it. After the second inning we held them. However, our bats could not keep up with what theirs had done. You can find the score somewhere else. It really isn't that important. We learned a lot of things from that game though. We had to keep communicating. We also had to find a way to get our bats going again.
In game 2 that is exactly what we did. Our bats came alive and we started running. Our communication was a lot better as well. We worked hard and had a great game against Widener. We won 3-1. It was also a good game for me personally because I got my first college at bats. It was such a thrill. I ended up being the Designated Player, something I haven't done in a long time. It felt good. After the game we came back to the hotel and most of us took a dip in the pool and the hot tub. It felt wonderful after a hot day in the Florida sun. So now it is time for a team dinner. Beware, we are cooking and grilling!
Spring Trip Day 1 (3/1/04) - Questions from the 2nd van .Where is she going? What is she doing? Why are we getting off this exit? These
were just a few questions asked by the second van of the first van driven by Coach
Spann. Needless to say the ride down to Florida was an interesting one. The second
van (the one I rode in) was filled with sleep. Thank goodness. We started to get
caught up on lost sleep from the last 2 months. However, we also got a good game
of catch phrase in along with other random car games.
Sunday before we got here we decided to stop at a random place along the highway to get a little practice in while the sun was shining. We ended up at a high school field where a friendly grounds keeper took time out to let us practice. Then much to our dismay we got back into the vans and started on our way again. We finally got here (only about 6 wrong exits and or times getting lost) at about 5 pm on Sunday night. We all were exhausted. We met in the coach's room for a team meeting and team dinner. Gotta love lasagna, salad, and Texas toast. I'm pretty sure not many of us had a problem heading to bed after that.
Monday morning came and game time was here. We were full of nerves, excitement, and anticipation of the day. We played Clarke College for our first game. I was particularly excited because Clarke is in Dubuque , IA. For those of you don't know, I am the only out of state softball player and Dubuque is about an hour away from my house. The freshmen of Clarke's team had to come over and introduce themselves. I had a good time chatting with them about things I knew and places around there. Anyway on to the game, we had solid defense that got us through. We won 2-0.
We took a small break to snack and check out our competition. Oh wait, there are two Concordia Colleges. We definitely scouted the wrong Concordia. It didn't matter though. We still played solid defense and pulled out the win 2-1. Overall, a great trip so far. We are having a blast hanging out with each other and playing in the wonderful Florida weather! Yes we are wearing plenty of sunscreen.
Preseason (2/27/04) - The preseason is officially over. We are on our way to Florida to see if all our
hard work has paid off. We started off the fall working on our own because we didn't
have a head coach. This was so hard coming into the program as a freshman. I didn't
know what to expect or what to do. Then Coach Spann was hired and there was a huge
sense of relief on the team. Now I felt like I was really playing college softball.
She started us on an intense workout. I had never run so much in my entire life. Plus we were lifting weights 4 days a week. I now had a coach that demanded the best and settled for nothing less. This was intense for me. I was in a whole new situation. Coming back from Christmas break marked the start of actual practice. We did not waste any time. We started the first Monday we got back from break and we have been going ever since. The major adjustment came when we started early morning practices. I was not used to having to get up at4:30 A.M. to run, hit, and throw for two hours before going to class. Practice was made a little better because we started off with team devotions. It was a great way to start the morning as a team. Now the fruits of our labor are going to start showing. Rebel Spring Games (Kissimmee, Florida) here we come!