Softball 2010 Season Preview

The 2010 softball season looks to be a season of promise for the Trailblazer softball program. "Our softball program is now in its fourth year with the 2010 season being our first year as a varsity sport, so we still have a very young program," says Head Coach Emory Clark. "We have a core group of veteran players returning to play for the Trailblazers and a good group of new players have come out for this year's team."

Emory Clark returns for his second season at the helm of the Ohio Christian University Trailblazer softball program. "The 2009 season saw our program reach some important first milestones," says Coach Clark. "In the 2010 season, we have an opportunity to take some important steps in the continued development of our softball program. We are a young program, so we are still looking for our first win. I hope we can reach that milestone early in the season and use it to provide momentum to a good season record."

Coach Clark is joined by second year Assistant Coach Dominic Lehman. "Dom joined me last year and was a tremendous help. I look forward to working with him, again, this year. He does a good job helping the team understand the concepts of the game and is a great asset to our program."

Returning at short stop for the Trailblazers will be junior Jaia Reidling. During the 2009 campaign Reidling posted a .583 batting average in 24 innings of play with a .750 fielding percentage. "We will be looking to Jaia to solidify the left side of our middle infield. She's quick, makes an effort to get to every ball hit her direction, and has a strong enough arm to make throws from deep in the hole behind third if she has to," says Coach Clark.

Also returning for the Trailblazers will be sophomores Allison Mays and Jasmine Howell. Mays took on the pitching responsibilities for the Trailblazers last season due to some last minute roster changes, but this year looks to see more time on the infield dirt and outfield grass. "Allison really stepped up for us last year and took on the task of switching from a 2B/Catcher to pitching. This year we hope to be able to use her more in positions where her athleticism, speed, and strong arm can help us a little more defensively," says Coach Clark. Mays added a .400 batting average and a .455 on base percentage to the batting order for the Trailblazers last season.

Jasmine Howell will be returning to the infield for the Trailblazers. In 2009 Howell was a defensive stalwart at second base committing only 1 error in 24 innings of play. "This year we may have the opportunity to utilize Jasmine's defensive ability at some of the other positions as well. It's always good to have a player as strong and versatile as Jasmine," says Coach Clark. Howell will join the Trailblazers after she finishes her time on the basketball court for the Lady Trailblazers basketball team.

The Trailblazers will add Senior Brenda Carter to their lineup this season. Carter has been an outstanding leader for the Lady Trailblazers basketball program for the last two years. As a Sports Ministry/Management major she now looks to add softball to her list of athletic experience. "While she may be new to the game of softball, Brenda is an amazing athlete who is very teachable and catches on quickly to whatever you ask her to do. I am excited to see how much she will be able to learn this season, and to see how much she is able to contribute to our program," says Head Coach Emory Clark. Like Howell, Carter will join the Trailblazers in mid-March after she completes her senior season on the basketball court for the Lady Trailblazers.

The 2010 Trailblazer lineup also includes Junior Elisabeth South. South has an amazingly quick glove at third base accompanied by strong, accurate throws. She could definitely make some of the close plays pretty exciting to watch.

Also joining the lineup this year will be Sophomores Katie Clark and Alyna Rash. Clark attended OCU in 2008-2009 as a Post-Secondary student and will be playing her first season for the Trailblazers. Clark will share the duties in several positions including catcher and second base. Rash brings good speed to the lineup and will play a big role in strengthening the Trailblazer base running threat. Rash will also see some time in the outfield defensively.

The Trailblazers will add eight Freshmen to the lineup this season. Among the freshman who will be playing for the Trailblazers will be Kourtnie Buchanan, the first signed recruit for the Trailblazer softball program. Buchanan will bring left-handed power to the Trailblazer batting order along with her defensive work in the outfield. The Trailblazers will look to Freshman Stacy Moody to be their ace in the pitching circle this season. Allie Moore will see playing time on the infield corners. Courtney Schilling, another dual sport athlete coming after basketball season, will add strength to the middle infield and speed on the base paths. Crystal Thorne will add a very solid defensive game to the Trailblazers defense at first base and she will add some pop to the batting order, also. Elizabeth Smith will also bring a good bat to the Trailblazer line-up along with a strong defensive game at either third base or catcher. Smith will also share the pitching responsibilities with Moody. Angela Boney will present an offensive threat from the left side of the plate and could see playing time at a number of positions both infield and outfield. Freshman Brooke Essen will round out the Trailblazer roster.

The Trailblazers will begin their 2010 season on Saturday, March 13 against the Eagles of Asbury College in Wilmore, KY. On Saturday, March 20 the Trailblazers will begin conference play in the Ohio Collegiate Athletic Conference against Southern State Community College in Hillsboro, OH. The 2010 home opener is scheduled for Saturday, March 27 at 1:00 PM as the Trailblazers play host to the Eagles of Asbury College. The rest of the 2010 Trailblazer softball schedule can be seen at www.ohiochristian.edu/trailblazers/womens-softball/schedule. All home games will be played at Ted Lewis Park in downtown Circleville, OH.

The Trailblazers participate in the National Christian College Athletic Association Mideast Region and the Ohio Collegiate Athletic Conference. For more information about the Trailblazer softball program contact Head Coach Emory Clark at eclark@ohiochristian.edu or 740-477-7707 or 740-490-8183.