The Gustavus women’s softball team opened its 2005 season with three doubleheader splits at the Dome Tournament in Rosemount March 11-13. The Gusties are currently 3-3 after garnering splits with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (L 1-0, W 5-3), Buena Vista (W 5-3, L 4-2), and Loras (W 1-0, L 3-2).
The Gusties ended last season at 21-17 overall and advanced to the first ever MIAC Post-season softball tournament. Gustavus lost to MIAC regular season champion Saint Thomas 4-2 and to Hamline 5-4 in the double-elimination event.
Gustavus will need to replace all-conference pitcher Molly Biehn and all-conference outfielder Ingrid Olson who were both lost to graduation.
The Gusties will be helped again this season by the return of two-time All-America infielder Audrey Lenoch who set five school records in single season statistical areas. Lenoch led the Gusties in batting with 109 total bases, 68 hits, and 8 home runs. She also finished atop the team with a .544 batting average and an .872 slugging percentage. Lenoch’s batting average was second highest in Division III and her slugging percentage was eighth highest.
Janie Hanson and Joyce Dewitz will return on the pitching mound for the Gusties, while Abby Bernstein will return at the catching position. Hanson had a .154 batting average in 52 plate appearances, while Dewitz made 10 appearances last season on the mound striking out 12 and allowing no runners to cross the plate in 11.1 innings pitched. Bernstein compiled a .233 batting average in 120 plate appearances.
Mary Furlong and Kristin Kunz will be returning for the Gusties in the outfield. Furlong tallied a .929 fielding percentage last season while Kunz had an .855 fielding percentage.
After splitting doubleheaders with UW-Eau Claire, Buena Vista, and Loras last weekend, Coach Shanda Ness said, “We are using these early games to allow many first year and returning players to gain experience in positions they weren’t in last year. Our goal is to allow our new line-up to grow together in these early games. It may be a little rough at first, but I see great potential.” She added, “We saw some good things last weekend and we also made some mistakes that resulted in us allowing a few runs.”
Gustavus will play in Orange, Calif. as part of the Chapman Tournament March 25-30. The Gusties will play March 26 against Tufts, Mass. at 1 p.m. and Cornell, Iowa at 5:45 p.m. Gustavus will play Simon Fraser, Canada at 1 p.m. and Briar Cliffe, N.Y. at 3:30 p.m. on March 28, Hope International, Calif. at 10:45 a.m. and Chapman, Calif. at 3:30 p.m. on March 29, and Azusa Pacific, Calif. at 1 p.m. and Hope International, Calif. at 3:30 p.m. on March 30.