Softball team carries on despite injuries

Coming into this season, both the players and the coaches knew this would be more of a rebuilding year. However, they still practiced hard in the offseason and gave every effort to show their fans and the other teams in the conference that they weren’t just going to be walked all over.

“Everyone has stepped up their game and is improving,” Coach Ron Ferrill said. “At this time we just have less experience on the field then our opponents and it shines through at times.”

At the time of this article the team is 10-23. They have played every team together as a whole team and Coach Ferrill is proud of what they have done, regardless of their record.

“I am a little disappointed we didn’t find a way to win more games but I am very proud of my girls and their effort,” Ferrill said. “They faced a great deal of adversity losing a starting pitcher, outfielder, and third baseman to injury, and there are only five girls on the team that have college experience. Considering what they went through I think they represented themselves and St. Ambrose very well.”

Even though the record may not show it, there have been some very bright points in the Queen Bee’s season. Early in the season they beat the number 10 ranked team in the nation and they pulled out an early split with William Penn, who was then ranked number one in the MCC. Before dealing with a number of injuries they were also able to pull off at least a split series with many conference foes when many opposing coaches and players counted them out from the beginning.

“If we get healthy we will finish the regular season around the middle of the conference,” Ferrill said. “Knowing we can play with anyone gives us the confidence to go win our pod at the end of the year and still make the conference tournament, which consists of only the four teams that earn their way in.”

The pod is a part of the Midwest Collegiate Conference tournament. There is a play-in system that splits the conference into three pods, or mini-tournaments. The winners of these three tournaments and the next highest ranked team that didn’t win their pod end up in the final conference tournament. So even though they don’t have a winning record, if the Bees play strong at the end of the season they can still make the final cut.

Ferrill has done a lot of work recruiting for next season, but he wants to make it clear that this year’s seniors really pulled this year’s team together, and they are responsible for the work ethic and teamwork that will be continued next season.

“We will lose Caitlin Polzin, Felicia Fiorito, Jessica Murphy, and Genevieve Berrent to graduation,” Ferrill said. “All four will be greatly missed. Most of all we will miss the leadership they bring to the table. Through the losses our team was able to keep a great attitude and stay focussed. I believe you have to give a great deal of that credit to our senior group.”

Coach Ferrill and his staff hope their hard work this season and their recruiting efforts will pay off next season with a team who can compete for a conference title. With a National Championship already under his belt, Ferrill knows the Bees could be capable of the same.

“We have a great recruiting class coming in with about 18 recruits divided fairly evenly between junior college transfers and incoming freshman,” Ferrill said. “We have many all-conference and all-state players coming in as well as a couple with All-American recognition. We also return eight players that all saw significant varsity playing time this year including our catcher, shortstop, left fielder, and center fielder. We should be a big jump in performance as well as success. Competing for the conference championship is not at all out of the question.”

This year’s conference tournament will be held April 30 through May 8 and the Queen Bees hope to pile on a few more wins and take some momentum into the final games of the year.

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