The Truman State University softball team opened their season with a 2-2 record in four games at the Alvy Early memorial tournament in Bentonville, Arkansas, Feb. 11-12.
The tournament marked a solid start to the coaching tenure of Ron Ferrill, hired during the offseason from NAIA St. Ambrose University. Ferrill won a conference championship at St. Ambrose during 2013 and only recorded one losing season during his 11 years as head coach. He also coached at Assumption High School in Davenport, Iowa during this time, winning four state championships.
Ferrill said he was not looking to move on from his previous coaching job, but a friend convinced him to interview for the position, and he loved the atmosphere he found when he visited.
“Everybody here was just so welcoming,” Ferrill said. “Everyone from the people in the athletic department to the players I got to meet to even just people I saw on campus was so welcoming, so it felt like the right fit.”
Ferrill was able to take St. Ambrose from the bottom of their conference to a championship in a few short years. He will look to oversee a similar turnaround at Truman he said, as the softball team has yet to post a winning season since 2019.
In the GLVC preseason coaches’ poll, the Bulldogs were ranked 12 of 13 teams.
“The competitive side of me doesn’t like seeing that at all,” Ferrill said. “But, with the lack of success for the last few years, it was probably pretty accurate. If we don’t want to be ranked there in the future, we must do something about it.”
Junior infielder Cameryn Patterson said the team can only go up from their performance last season. She also said she feels the team as a collective has held themselves to a higher standard this year, which will translate to more success on the field.
Patterson earned back-to-back all GLVC honors in her freshman and sophomore seasons. In both seasons, she was second on the team in batting average and RBIs and is poised for another great campaign this year, Ferrill said.
Freshman infielder Cassie Smith has already shown signs she can majorly contribute to the Bulldogs this season. Across their first four games, Smith posted five hits and four stolen bases, leading the entire team in both categories and earning herself a regular starting spot.
On the pitching mound, Annabel Zimmer and Brieanna Klein will lead the Bulldogs. Last season, Zimmer started 15 games posting a 7.21 ERA, and Klein appeared in 11 games posting a 4.49 ERA. This year, both have posted solid numbers across their first two starts.
Zimmer, a Kirksville native, said she wants to have a memorable senior season.
“I grew up watching Truman softball,” Zimmer said. “The energy of getting to pitch at home has been my favorite part of being here, where I wanted to be.”
Ferrill said the team would need Klein and Patterson to be the main contributors pitching and hitting, respectively, if they are to improve this season.
Zimmer added that she expects sophomore transfer outfielder Emily Wood to be a breakout contributor for the team this season in addition to Smith.
Through four games, Wood has posted three hits and two stolen bases.
Ferrill said his main goal for his team this season is to show improvement over last year and start building a team culture of success that can propel them in the future.
“We want our players to get better daily,” Ferrill said. “We want to double our wins this season, and I would like to win more than that. In the long term, we want to reach a point where we consistently make deep postseason runs.”