HIRAM, OHIO -- The 2012 season was an up-and-down year for the Hiram College softball team finishing the season with a 19-17 mark and tied for fourth place in the conference after capturing the NCAC Tournament title in 2011. The Terriers will also have to replace five senior players, including three all-conference players and two NFCA All-Region Award winners.
The 2013 squad will feature a very young team, but will return eight letterwinners and five players who saw playing time as starters.
The infield will be led by junior Jessica Bolanz (Randolph/Waterloo) who started all 35 games she played in and finished the 2012 season with a .286 batting average (32-of-112). She led the team for the second straight season in homeruns with five and was also the team leader in runs batted in with 26. In addition, Bolanz was tied for third in doubles (six) and was amonst the team leaders in runs scored with 14. Also on the list of returning players with starting experience includes lone senior Danielle Reddinger (Lorain/Southview) and sophomore Taylor Petersal (Warren/Champion). Both Reddinger and Petersal saw playing time last season as a catcher and designated player. Offensively, Reddinger recorded two hits in 11 attempts with five runs scored and two RBI. Petersal had a .286 batting average (16-of-56) with a homerun, three doubles, five runs scored and 15 RBI. Other players who could compete for playing time this season include sophomores Samantha Hughes (Hookstown, Pa./Hopewell), Angela Perella (Lyndhurst/Beaumont) and Janie Linger (Akron/Firestone).
The Terrier outfield will return experienced players in two of the three positions with a pair of All-North Coast Athletic Conference award winners in junior Sarah Loyer (Barrie, Ontario/St. Joseph's) and sophomore Miranda Wright (Richfield/Revere). Loyer started all 36 games last season and had a .302 batting average (35-of-116). She was second in doubles (seven), second in stolen bases (nine) and third in runs scored (25). Loyer was also amongst the team leaders in RBI with 15. Wright made an impact for the Terriers as a freshman finishing her "rookie" season second on the team in batting average at .354 (34-of-96). She hit two homeruns, four doubles, scored 18 runs and tallied 13 RBI.
The pitching staff will be the most inexperienced for the Terriers this season as no players from a year ago will return, including pitching ace Taylor Charles who led the squad in every statistical category. As a team, the Terriers had a 3.63 earned run average with 137 total strikeouts in 242 and two-thirds innings. The Hiram pitching staff also accounted for two shutout victories and three saves.
Hiram will begin the 2013 season with its annual spring trip to Florida. This year, the Terriers will return to Fort Myers, Fla. to take part in the Gene Cusic Classic. Hiram will open the season on Sunday, Mar. 3 with a matchup against Regis (Mass.) College beginning at 9 a.m., followed by a game against Dominican (Ill.) University at 11 a.m. Hiram will also make a stop in Atlanta, Ga. to take part in the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic on Mar. 8-9 before returning north. The Terriers will begin their northern schedule with a non-conference doubleheader against Trine (Ind.) University on Saturday, Mar. 16. The first game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.