For the first time in the history of the program, the Shawnee
State University Softball Team is coming off of consecutive losing
seasons. The Bears
posted a 19-20 record in 2002 followed by a 14-15 campaign in 2003. Despite its recent struggles, the program boasts an overall
record of 422-177 since its inception in 1989.
Coach Ralph Cole, who has been at the helm since 1992, has a
career record of 370-135.
All-Conference honorees Keri Bennett, Nikki Moore, and Rhonda
Sacks highlight the returning players from last year’s team.
Megan Felts, an All-Conference selection in 2002, returns to
the team after a year away from softball.
Tara Walker and Kristi Barka also return from last season.
Rhonda Sacks, a junior pitcher, has a career record of 18-19
despite an ERA of just 1.74. She
has ranked in the top 10 of the American Mideast Conference ERA
leaders each of the last two seasons.
Keri Bennett, the team’s lone senior, has a career batting
average of .301. She
has collected 95 hits in 107 career games, and has been out of the
starting line-up just twice in her career.
She led the AMC in stolen base percentage as a sophomore
swiping 11 bases on 11 attempts.
Nikki Moore, a sophomore infielder, led the team with a .305
average last season. She
played in 7 games in 2002 before a season-ending injury, and will
therefore be looked upon to provide veteran leadership both on and
off the field.
Megan Felts led the 2002 squad with 8 homeruns and 29 RBI.
Her 8 homeruns ranked 3rd in the American Mideast
Conference. Megan will
likely be asked to handle some of the pitching duties this season.
In addition to the returning players, the Bears welcome 7
newcomers to the squad this season, all of whom will be expected to
contribute significantly this season.
Kat van den Broek, a senior from Holland, will likely handle
the catching duties. Britney
Bayless, an all-conference junior college transfer, will play in the
middle infield along with Moore.
Rachel Staley will be the team’s second starting pitcher.
She earned all-state honors at Wheelersburg High School.
Ashley Adkins,an all-conference performer form Groveport,
appears to have nailed down the starting spot in center field while
fellow freshman Kendra Hull will likely get the nod at first base.
Freshmen Tia Walling and Lindsey Greenslate will battle
sophomore Tara Walker for the starting position in left field.
Shawnee State opens the season at home in the Shawnee State
University Spring Invitational.
SSU plays in the opening game of the three-day event on March
12. The Bears play St.
Vincent College at 11:00 a.m. at Doctor Singleton Park.