Softball struggles in Bustrum’s debut as coach
Despite a 4-8 record over spring break, several players show potential as Calvin prepares for conference play this weekend
Junior Kristin Folkerts will replace Leah VanEnk as Calvin’s starting pitcher. She is 3-7 with a 3.91 ERA this season.
The softball team struggled in its season debut, going 4-8 in the Spring Break trip to Tucson, Ariz. Despite the slow start, though, there is reason for optimism this season, as several players showed great potential for break-out seasons.
The Knights dropped their first two games of the season before pulling out a 6-5 victory against Dickinson College. The Knights struck early with two runs in the first. Sophomore lead-off hitter Whisper Miller singled and then advanced to second on an error. A single by sophomore Amanda Johnson advanced Miller to third, who scored on the ensuing error when Johnson stole second. Junior Brittany Moriarity then hit a double that scored Johnson, giving the Knights a 2-0 lead.
On the mound in the win was junior Kristin Folkerts, who pitched the full eight innings. Folkerts allowed five runs on 10 hits. She struck out four, while only walking one Dickinson batter.
The next Calvin victory came the next day against Kenyon College, 8-6. Folkerts picked up her second win on the season, striking out two and walking two, while only allowing one earned run on nine hits.
Offensively for the Knights, Miller had another solid game with a pair of hits and stolen bases. Moriarity also proved to be a force, crushing a two-run homer in the first inning.
“Brittany has stepped up for us time and time again,” head coach Emily Bustrum commented.
The next Calvin victory came against Monmouth College in the form of a 7-6 victory. Johnson pitched the Knights to victory, as she picked up her first win by allowing only three earned runs on seven hits.
The Knights trailed in the final inning 6-5, when senior Samantha Ehlert hit a walk-off single to center field scoring the runners on second and third, giving the Knights a 7-6 victory.
“We were really aggressive on the bases,” coach Bustrum said. “We have a lot of speed to work with, and that really helped us win some games.”
The final victory for the Calvin came in the form of a 9-7 victory over Iowa Wesleyan College. The Knights had a five-run third inning that gave them a commanding lead early, but Iowa Wesleyan rallied with five runs in the top of the seventh, nearly eliminating the convincing 9-2 lead the Knights had.
Folkerts picked up her third win against Iowa Wesleyan, allowing seven runs on thirteen hits, while striking out five batters and only walking three. Johnson, Moriarity and senior Cori VanKoevering had two hits apiece of the Knights, and junior Jen VandenAkker added a double.
“The trip was very beneficial for our team,” coach Bustrum said. “It was the first time we were able to get on dirt and play on grass. We were in every game and a couple more hits or made plays could have easily changed the outcome.”
A continual bright spot for the Knights was the play of Miller. Over the course of Spring Break, Miller had a batting average of .342 on 13-38 hitting, scoring 11 runs, with an on-base percentage of .405. Miller also managed to steal bases on 10 of her 11 attempts. Miller also held down the fort from the catcher position, posting a fielding percentage of .960.
“Whisper did a great job for us both behind the plate and at bat,” Bustrum stated.
The Knights will open up conference play when they travel to Saint Mary’s College tomorrow at 1 p.m.