The Mount Vernon Nazarene College women's fastpitch softball team will enter the 2000 season with ten experienced players returning from last year's team that posted a 16-24 overall record despite a roster that was depleted due to injuries.
Jody Bartter, the lone senior on the team, tops the list of returning infielders. A Second Team All-Conference pick at second base as a sophomore, Bartter missed all but nine games last year with a broken finger.
Joining Bartter as potential starters in the infield are sophomore Stephanie Keller at first base, junior Shelly Claxon at shortstop, and freshman Jenni Davis at third base. Claxon batted .319 and was an Honorable Mention All-Conference selection last year despite playing with a shoulder injury, while Keller started 34 games in her first collegiate season. Meanwhile, Davis was a two-time First Team All-Conference pick at Cardington-Lincoln High School. In addition, Lisa Horsley and Deanna Kilpatrick will also provide depth in the infield.
The competition for the starting spots in the outfield will be fierce as six players vie for the three spots. Juniors Shelly Aldrich, Natalie Wallace, and Amy Leach appear to be the frontrunners for the starting jobs, but sophomore Drew Paulo and freshmen Debbie Dobson and Heather Krabill will all see action. Aldrich, who was an Honorable Mention All-Conference choice as a sophomore, was red-shirted last season with a shoulder injury. Wallace, who was an All-Conference Second Team pick as a freshman, batted .348 a year ago, while Leach started 37 games in centerfield.
Freshman Pam Poff and junior Angie Svagerko will both see action behind the plate this year as they catch the Lady Cougars' pitchers. Poff was a Division II Second Team All-Ohioan at Tallmadge High School last season, while Svagerko caught all 40 of MVNC's games.
The Lady Cougars will have a veteran pitching staff in 2000 as all three pitchers return after combining for a 2.21 earned run average last season. Junior Tara Hines, who was an Honorable Mention All-Conference honoree as a freshman, posted a 9-12 record with a 2.44 earned run average, while Wallace had a 1-2 record and a 3.45 ERA. Sophomore Amanda Schumm earned All-Conference First Team honors after going 6-10 with a 1.61 ERA. Schumm also posted a team-high .408 batting average with five home runs and 29 runs batted in.
MVNC will begin its season with ten games against NCAA Division III teams in Orlando, Florida, as part of the team's annual spring trip. Besides competing for the American Mideast Conference title, the Lady Cougars will also play a non-conference doubleheaders at Kenyon College.
With its veteran roster, the Lady Cougars will look to continue their winning tradition as the team begins the 2000 season.