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Softball and baseball anticipates a great season

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As spring approaches University of Illinois Springfield softball and baseball are excited to see what is in store for the new season.

Softball

With an overall record from the previous season of 36-21 and 22-12 in the GLVC play, UIS softball is ready to take its title.

Last spring, UIS softball made history by becoming the first of their program to make the NCAA Regional. This season, UIS is eager to go further in the GLVC west division and hope to advance further in the regional championship.

Matt Mundell, head coach of UIS softball, has helped change the program and has guided UIS to not only the most successful season yet, but has helped UIS softball become the first team to make an appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament.

With this success, UIS softball has been fortunate to have many returning players this season, such as first team All-Conference player Sarah Gray and second team All-Conference players Mandy Smith and Brooke Carroll. Gray lead in stolen bases with a batting average of .305.

Smith was third on UIS for batting with an average of .312, while Carroll led the team with RBIs and had a batting average of .313.

Many key players were able to return, including senior pitchers Tina Buck and Brittany Sitton.

Buck started 58 games, was second in homeruns, and was selected to the academic All-GLVC team.

Sitton led the GLVC with nine saves, pitched in 36 games and was named to the UIS Coach’s Academic Honor Roll for the fall semester.

Shannon Mitchell, who plays outfield, appeared in 34 games and was selected to the academic All-Great Lakes Valley Conference team.

Along with returning star players, UIS softball has many incoming stars such as Shannon Ballegeer, who transferred from Black Hawk College, Erika Bowers is a freshman from Sherrad, Ill. and Katie Ortinau a freshman from El Paso, Ill.

This upcoming season UIS was voted second in the GLVC west division, right behind Drury. With these new incoming players, and all-star returning players, UIS is ready to become first in the GLVC west division, and make an impact in the NCAA regional tournament.

Although there is always room for improvement for both offense and defense for sports, UIS is ready to perfect their offense and defense and their season bringing home wins.

With an upsetting start on the road at the UAM Quad-State Classic, the Prairie Stars had three losses against Missouri Western 1-9, Northwest Missouri 5-6, and Missouri Southern 3-12.

UIS came back with a strong win against Southern Baptist with a score 17-0. UIS is determined to not let any loss hinder their chances to make wins for themselves

As for the first home game, UIS will be playing against Kentucky Wesleyan on March 9 in hopes to start a streak of wins that will continue throughout the season.

Baseball

Fairly new to UIS Athletics, baseball is prepared to have a successful season that will continue to grow with the team. Men’s baseball will make its first appearance March 2, against Culver Stockton.

Mike Zandler, head coach of UIS baseball, finished the previous season with a record of 9-37. Zandler has successfully brought in individuals to the UIS baseball program, to not only benefit the offense but the defense as well. This spring, 18 players will bring their talents to the team.

The 18 players will give a great amount of skill the success for UIS, various new players include: Nick Sanders, Kendall Hocker, Tyler Leffel, James Matson, Logan Frye, and Adam Krager, all from Blackhawk College.

Blake Baker, from Kankakee Community College and James Range from Southwestern Illinois College, also prepare to make an impact on the team.

Returning star players include: junior pitchers Easton Kowalski and Barry Arnett and junior outfielder Adrian Brown.

With less than a month before UIS makes their first appearance, the team is ready to show a new competitive style, and ready to be on top in the GLVC.

“With this large recruiting class, it has brought a lot of talent to the team that will make us very competitive in the GLVC,” Kowalski said. “I know our last record is not something to brag about, but we have been training together since we have been back from winter break and we  have gotten use to how one another plays.”

“Also, with how well our team works together and the chemistry, we have I am certain that we will have tremendous improvements this season, and bring home a lot more wins. I do feel we will be competition in our conference. I’m excited for this season because I know that our team is ready to win.”

UIS is ready to start bringing home wins and becoming noticeable in the conference. With the new changes and hard work, UIS baseball is ready for a great season.

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