By: Phillip Lutz, Sports Editor

The UM-Dearborn women’s softball team will open up play in Hardeeville, South Carolina. This begins their new campaign to defend their WHAC (Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference) shared title from last season.

Coach Vince Alessandrini said “It is a good feeling to be ranked first but that means we need to practice harder because everyone will be gunning for you.” He went on to say “our goal for this season is to make it to nationals after last season.”

Coach Vince Alessandrini leads the Wolverines in his second season as their head coach. Last season he led them to a 30-10 overall record and a 16-4 record in the WHAC.

Last season the Wolverines scored 242 runs on 358 hits. They had 1130 at bats. The team blasted 27 home runs and had 216 runs batted in.

The Wolverines struggled with 123 strikeouts, but were better than their opponents combined 180. They also bested their opponents by walking 103 times compared to 91 by their opponents.

“Last year we were young mostly freshman and sophomores, this year they are older and we are getting them to believe in the process and we believe we are a family program” coach Alessandrini said about how they are doing things different this year versus last year.

Returning senior Jordan Ewald played in 39 games last season, scoring 19 runs on 34 hits. Ewald slammed six home runs and added 28 runs batted in. She had 11 walks and 12 strikeouts while being hit by four pitches.

Junior Riley Hison will also be returning. She played in 37 games last season and had 27 runs on 39 hits. Hison had 18 runs batted in, eight walks, and four strikeouts out of 98 at bats.

Coach Alessandrini said the players to breakout this season were “junior Rachel Clem, freshman Meaghan Markus, junior Sarah Prashad, and the four seniors who will lead the way for our team this season.”

Players to keep your eyes on according to coach Alessandrini are: “senior Jordan Ewald, sophomore Olivia Cottom, junior Riley Hison, sophomore Amy Jarrett, and sophomore Ashlynn Henderson. Jarrett and Henderson will really need to help out with the pitching this year.”

The Wolverines are tied for first with the Aquinas Saints in the preseason poll and have a lot to live up after the great season they put up last season. They will play their first 19 games on the road throughout the months of February and March starting on Feb. 25 against the University of South Carolina-Beaufort.

“We start off the season against last season’s No. 5 team in South Carolina-Beaufort” coach Alessandrini said. He went on to say “We will get a good test early, but I think we are ready for it.”

Check back with the Michigan Journal for all scores and updates on the UM-Dearborn softball team.