Washburn Lady Blues Softball Team Opens Season At UAM On Saturday

By: WU, posted by Kinch O'Kelley
By: WU, posted by Kinch O'Kelley

The 2013 Washburn Lady Blues will take to the field for the first time this season as they travel to the Arkansas-Monticello Hampton Inn Classic Feb. 2-3 in Monticello, Ark., as Washburn is scheduled for four games. The classic begins the second season of the Vanessa Becerra regime at Washburn after leading the Lady Blues to a 19-24 record and a fifth-place finish in her first season in the Washburn dugout.

Know the foes . . .
• Washburn will face Henderson State on both days of the classic opening the season with the Reddies at 11 a.m. and then wrapping up the classic on Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m.
• The Lady Blues have not faced Henderson State since Feb. 20, 2004 falling 2-1.
• Washburn and Henderson State is tied all-time at 1-1 in the two meetings.
• The Reddies are part of the Great American Conference and finished the 2012 campaign with a 20-30 record.
• Host squad Arkansas-Monticello finished last season 40-14 going 21-5 in the Great American Conference winning the regular season and tournament championships.
• Washburn is 2-3 all-time against Arkansas-Monticello and the two teams have not met since Feb. 24, 2005 with Washburn falling 8-1.
• Ouachita Baptist finished 2012 with an 18-31 overall recording completing a 6-20 mark in the Great American Conference.
• Washburn and Ouachita Baptist have only played once and Washburn won the meeting 6-0 on Feb. 21, 2004.
• All four games will count as regional games for the Lady Blues as they have moved from the NCAA South Central Region to the Central Region, which encompasses the MIAA, the GAC and the Northern Sun Conferences.

Blue Notes . . .
• #3 Kristen Bell -- started all 43 games at catcher last season as a freshman.
• #4 Katie Schroeder -- carries a 14-game streak of reaching base safely into the start of the 2013 season.
• #5 Marina Quimby -- earned first team all-city and all-conference as a freshman at Grandview High School in Aurora, Colo.
• #6 Lauren Byrn -- was a second team all-league pick as a junior and honorable mention all-league as a senior at Lawrence High School.
• #7 Amanda Kirkhart --appeared in 34 games as a freshman at Butler County batting .313.
• #8 Kayla Oldham -- Lady Blues' only returning pitcher from 2012 going 10-11 with an ERA of 3.28.
• #9 Haylee Marsteller -- A first team all-league pick as a senior at Lansing High School.
• #10 Deidra Jones -- Transfer from Ottawa where she appeared in 19 games starting 12.
• #12 Tori Gloudeman -- A second team all-league pick at first base batting .428 with 17 RBI.
• #13 Skyler Gentry -- Appeared in 62 games as a sophomore at Highland Community College where team finished second in the region.
• #14 Mallorie Monhollon -- Appeared in 29 games making 24 starts at Washburn.
• #15 Leah Garland -- Has made 12 starts playing in 14 games as a freshman at Washburn.
• #16 Lauren Thimmesch -- A transfer from Iowa State after she earned all-state honors as a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas.
• #22 Shelby Erickson -- Has started 89 of 91 carer games at shortstop recording a .280 batting average with 76 hits.
• #23 Alex Zordel -- her 22 career home runs is tied for sixth on the Washburn career chart while recording 130 hits, 74 RBI and 57 runs scored starting 134 of 137 career games.

2012 Season Preview
The Washburn Lady Blues return seven returners and have added a talented cast of newcomers as the team enters the second year under head coach Vanessa Becerra. Of the seven returners, four are starters and Washburn returns is winningest pitcher from last season as well.
A strong group of newcomers will help the softball program start its climb back to the top of the MIAA race as they look for their first conference regular season title since the 2000 season. Washburn finished the 2012 season with a 19-24 record finishing sixth in the MIAA standings.
Headlining the returns is senior third baseman Alex Zordel who earned first team all-MIAA honors last season.
Zordel led the team with a .380 batting average driving in 32 runs while scoring 31 hitting 10 home runs giving her 22 for her career.
Washburn also returns its middle fielders in junior second baseman Katie Schroeder and junior shortstopShelby Erickson.
Schroeder was an honorable mention all-MIAA selection last season after collecting 44 hits and batting .301 scoring a team-high 36 runs.
Erickson hit .299 last year with 41 hits and three home runs recording 12 multi-hit games as a sophomore.
Behind the plate sophomore Kristen Bell returns after starting all 43 games and finishing the season with 30 hits and 20 runs scored.
Also returning are a pair of sophomores who saw action in both infield and outfield positions in Leah Garlandand Mallorie Monhollon.
Garland appeared in 14 games making 12 starting collecting six hits with 33 at bats.
Monhollon played in 29 games making 24 starts and had eight hits with 12 runs scored while driving in 12 during the season. She tied a school record with seven RBI against Angelo State hitting a grand slam and a three-run homer in the game.
The lone pitcher returning for Washburn is sophomore Kayla Oldham who made 17 starts tossing 13 complete games going 10-11 on the season with a 3.28 earned run average. Oldham also had 45 at bats during the season collecting seven hits while driving in three runs.
Becerra will welcome in eight new players this season who will have an impact on the 2013 campaign. Junior transfer Skyler Gentry is the most-seasoned of the group after transferring from Highland Community College by way of Texas Wesleyan. In her sophomore year with Highland, she appeared in 62 games collecting 54 hits while scoring 45 runs for the Scotties.
The Lady Blues will also welcome in sophomore transfers Deidra Jones, Amanda Kirkhart and Lauren Thimmesch.
Kirkhart is transferring from Butler County where she played in 34 games as a freshman batting .313 with 25 hits and 16 RBI for the conference champion Grizzlies.
Jones appeared in 19 games as a freshman at Ottawa while marking 12 starts for the Braves.
Thimmesch joins Washburn after playing at Iowa State was an all-state pick in high school prior to joining the Cyclones.
Four more freshmen round out the team in Marina Quimby, Lauren Byrn, Haylee Marsteller and Tori Gloudeman.
Quimby was a three-time all-city pick in Aurora, Colo. Byrn was a two-time all-league selection as a junior and senior at Lawrence High School. Marsteller earned three all-league honors at Lansing High School and Gloudeman has played several different infield positions earning two different all-league honors at Maize High School.

Lady blues head coach Vanessa Becerra
• was named the Washburn Lady Blues head softball coach on Aug. 3, 2011 after spending four seasons at Metro State in Denver, Colo., with the final season coming as the head coach.
• is 19-24 in her second season on the bench and overall Becerra has recorded a 53-42 mark in her third year as a head coach.
• in her lone season as the head coach at Metro State, Becerra led the Roadrunners the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular season championship while advancing to the NCAA regional tournament for the third-straight season finishing with a 34-18 record.
• has coached three Lady Blues to all-MIAA honors.
• has had 12 Lady Blues named to the MIAA's Academic Honor Roll.

Lady Blues softball history. . .
• The Lady Blues are 1034-735-1 in their 44th year of softball.
• The Lady Blues have made three NCAA Tournament appearances (1999, 2006, 2008).
• Washburn won the 2002 regular season MIAA title.

Up Next . . .
The Lady Blues will return to the road Feb. 8-10 to Durant, Okla., to play six games at the Southeastern Oklahoma State Invitational in regional competition. Following their trip to Durant, Washburn will not return to game action until Feb. 22-24 at the NSIC/MIAA Crossover Dome Tournament in Rochester, Minn. Washburn will open its home slate on March 5 when they will face Northwestern Oklahoma in non-conference action.

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