Falcon softball starts quest for MAC softball title
Written by KEVIN GORDON/Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor
Thursday, 28 March 2013 08:43
Bowling Green’s softball team starts its quest for a Mid-American Conference championship this weekend.
|File photo. BG's Emily McClelland claps for teammate Hannah Fulk while running the bases. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The Falcons host Ball State and Miami to open conference play.
BG is 12-8 overall after a 9-1 loss Wednesday at 13th-ranked Michigan.
“We’re off to a good start, but we have room to improve,” said BG sophomore pitcher Paris Imholz, who is 9-2 with a 1.53 earned-run average.
Imholz was a first-team All-MAC pick last season, going 17-9 with a 1.81 ERA.
“Our goal is to win the MAC,” Imholz said.
The Falcons, 36-22 overall and second in the MAC East at 15-7 last season, were picked to win the East in the conference coaches poll.
BG’s pitching and defense have been good. The Falcons have a 2.66 earned-run average and have made just 17 errors in 20 games.
WEEKEND: Ball State (14-10) is picked to win the West and the MAC tournament. Miami is 4-18.
WEATHER; BG has played just 20 games, the result of 11 weather postponements.
“You just try to create situations in practice that are as close to live as possible, but there’s nothing like playing a game,” BG coach Shannon Salsburg said. “It’s more between the ears than it has mechanical or technical.”
“We have to go out and play with passion every chance we get,” Imholz said. “It forces you to really commit yourself to practice and the games you do play.”
YEAR II: Imholz continues to build on her outstanding freshman season.
The right-hander has allowed just 26 runs (17 earned) on 63 hits in 78 innings, while striking out 42 and walking 31.
She’s added a screwball to go along with her curveball, which is her best pitch.
“I feel really confident right now,” Imholz said. “I’m learning a lot more this year in every situation than I did last year. I’m just trying to continue to improve.”
OFFENSE: BG has struggled offensively, hitting just .211 and scoring two or fewer runs 10 times.
Hannah Fulk (.321) and Paige Berger (.303) are the only Falcons hitting .300 or more. The next highest player is at .258.
“Our swings are 100 times better than they’ve been,” Salsburg said. “It’s the consistency of seeing someone else (live pitching in a game). We hit well in the cages off a very good staff. It will get better as the season goes on.”
HOT START: Fulk is off to a hot start after earning first-team All-MAC first-team shortstop honors last season. The senior has two homers and five runs batted in this season. She hit .327 with 15 homers and 34 RBI last season.
“She tweaked her swing a little bit and she can hit every pitch now,” Salsburg said.
INJURED: BG senior captain and second baseman Andrea Arney is out for the season after injuring her knee while making a play in the field March 10.
Sophomore Emily McClelland has taken over for Arney, who hit .277 with five homers and 16 RBI last season.
“(Arney) is doing a great of mentoring (McClelland) and just having her senior presence in the dugout is great,” Salsburg said. “There’s still so much she can bring to this team. She was voted captain for a reason. The kids believe in her and appreciate her leadership.”
SOLID: McClelland hasn’t made an error in 27 chances this season
“Emily is solid, solid, solid,” Salsburg said. “We just told her not to do anything more than what you can do because what you can do is enough.”
McClelland recently was moved into the No. 2 spot in the lineup because of her ability to bunt and move runners along.
HOME COOKING: BG plays 14 of its 22 MAC games at home, including its first 12.
BG played 14 of its 22 MAC games on the road last season.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 08:48