Softball starts in Alabama

Moving into a new conference and receiving 89 points in the pre-season poll, which placed the Truman State softball team third place in the western division, which means the other teams in the GLVC think highly of this Bulldog squad.
Four players graduated from the team last season, which left some talented shoes to fill as all four of those players were starters last season. Truman will face two ranked programs, No.7 Indianapolis and No. 18 Missouri-St. Louis, this season. None of this is easy on the eyes, yet the Bulldogs still are ranked highly within the conference. Here is why.
The junior and senior classes of this team have seen ample playing time, last season and seasons before, with many of them starting every game last year and a couple the past two years.
Senior outfielder Kelsey Bollman was part of the MIAA-first-team last season and led the team with a .377 batting average. Junior third-baseman Cate Simon started every game last season and had a .343 batting average with a .952 on-base plus slugging percentage. Junior first baseman Liz Leath was named Honorable Mention all-MIAA last year with a .365 batting average and a 13-game hitting streak.
Returning from a redshirt season last year, sophomore pitcher Kelsea Dorsey, who was named one of the top four pitchers in the MIAA during 2012, is back from injury. During her 2012 campaign, Dorsey threw a no-hitter against Lindenwood University and had 11 scoreless starts.
Bollman said she thinks Dorsey’s return could have a lasting impact to a varying pitching roster.
“She matches sophomore Kindra [Henze], our other pitcher’s, style really well,” Bollman said. “Kindra has power and Dorsey has movement so she will be a huge help for us and be a pleasant surprise for everybody.”
Moreover, the pitching roster will have another addition with the acquisition of senior infielder and pitcher Jessica VanNostrand. This will be the Bulldogs’ third option on the mound when Henze and Dorsey need rest.
Jessica isn’t the only VanNostrand on the team — her sister, freshman catcher Alexis VanNostrand, is ready to fill the position, as alumna Meredith Kusky graduated last year. This potentially could turn into a backyard game of pitch and catch for the two as the played together during year in high school.
“It was really fun then, but now that the games are a higher level of competition it’s even more fun to have her with me,” Alexis said. “I look up to all the seniors because this is their fourth year and they know what Coach Brown teaches and what she wants.”
With all three senior position players most likely starting at their respective positions this year, the junior class likely will take up a majority of the playing time as well. Junior second baseman Andrea Klipsch started 46 of the 47 games last season and it’s likely she’ll get the nod this season as well.
Klipsch was named all-MIAA honorable mention hitting for .292 at the dish, primarily from the number to spot in the lineup, and posted 68 total bases. Klipsch said staying in shape during the summer and winter seasons is important to keep numbers like that up, and she had a secret weapon during the summer to help —her father.
“Over the summer, I was fortunate enough to have my father hit 75-100 ground balls to me at the local park and then hit about two buckets of soft toss or something,” Klipsch said.
Klipsch was a prolific hitter at the beginning of last season, maintaining a .400 batting average through March 23.
The team has its fair share of returning members, with a few new and similar faces making a run to give this team a new look.
Next for the women is a tournament in Jackson, Tenn., followed by another in Joplin, Mo., to begin during March. Their first home game of the year will be played Friday, March 7 against McKendree University at the Truman State Softball Field.

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