The Truman State Softball team gained 12 new recruits, six transfers, and six freshmen.
Head coach Ron Ferrill said the team graduated eight seniors, so the additions were necessary.
“It was kind of two-fold, we had a big senior group and we only had 16 players on the roster and I wanted to expand the roster to 18 to 20 so we could have enough to scrimmage, so it was kind of double-dipping,” Ferrill said. “We were going to have to replace a lot but we also needed to add some numbers too, so that’s why this is by far, it’s gotta be one of the biggest recruiting classes the school’s ever had.”
For softball, recruiting classes are usually around five or six, Ferrill said.
With the new additions, Ferrill said the team is bigger, faster, and has depth at the mound.
Ferrill said junior transfer Kaylyn Jones pitched at the University of Northern Iowa, a DI school, junior transfer Madie Anderson was the Indian Hills Community College number one pitcher, and freshman pitcher Charlotte Chelich will add the depth the team lacked last season.
Anderson said she is looking forward to Ferrill’s coaching and how he will create a team that can win.
“I was looking at quite a few other schools so to narrow it down it was really hard, but I ended up finding the right place for me and I feel like this is the right spot, it’s going to be tough,” Anderson said. “I feel like [Ferrill] is going to get everything out of me that I didn’t even know I had.”
Anderson said she knows practices will be tough, but all 12 new players will be going through the changes together.
Freshman infielder Sofia Birkenholz said she is looking forward to the rebuild and Ferrill’s insight he brings to the team.
“I am most excited about growing close with the other girls and really forming a strong bond to have a solid foundation in the coming years,” Birkenholz said.
Ferrill said the biggest challenge this year will be getting all of the personalities of the team to come together.
This season will be Ferrill’s second season as head coach and there are only eight returning players, so there is less of a base for the 12 players to build on.
“I think that just having 12 is a bigger challenge than normal just because usually your returners, they’ve already gelled and meshed, you’re trying to get five or six personalities to gel or mesh,” Ferrill said. “Well now you’re trying to get 12, but on top of that, six of them being transfers, those six are coming from different college programs that already have established mindsets, then you have six freshmen that don’t know what they’re getting into.”
Freshman catcher Abbie Danchus said she is excited to get to know all the players and is hopeful to break some records this season.
Last season, the team was able to double the wins from the year before, Ferrill said. The Bulldogs went 17-37 in 2023, and 8-35 in 2022.
“We would like to push doubling last year’s. I don’t know if that’s realistic yet with the six freshmen, but if we can push that 30 win mark I think that’s a pretty realistic jump for this year,” Ferrill said.
The softball team also got a new turf field this season which will help cut down on cost and bump up the speed of the game, Ferrill said.
Before the field was turf, there was a lot of work that went into the upkeep of the grass and dirt. The chalking, watering, weeding and seeding were continuous costs, but with the turf, the next big investment wouldn’t be for another 15 years, Ferrill said.
“I like to play the game fast, I like to steal, I like to have fast players on the field, I like to mess with the other team when we are on offense and the turf just plays faster, so having turf really feeds into my coaching philosophy,” Ferrill said.
The Bulldogs will start their season on their new turf against Southeastern Iowa Community College, Sep. 17.