TIFFIN, Ohio—The Heidelberg University softball team will open the 2012 season with 10 games at the National Training Center from March 10-15 in Clermont, Fla. Fourth-year head coach Betsy Hada returns 10 letter winners from a team that finished 24-14 a season ago and welcomes five talented freshmen to the program.
Among Hada’s top returnees are senior first baseman Bessie Artino (Bellevue) and junior second baseman Bridget Moran (Lakewood/Senior), both of whom earned All-OAC honors a season ago. Artino, a second-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Central Region pick, returns as one of the most feared hitters in the conference, having tied or broken single-season school records in 2011 with 55 hits and 13 doubles, and her .447 batting average stands fifth in school history. Moran’s 48 hits and 32 runs of 2011 both stand fourth.
Under Hada’s guidance, the Berg’s 24 wins last season broke the old mark of 23 set in both 1996 and 1997. In addition, Hada’s 24 wins marked the second time in her four-year career she has reached the 20-win plateau, which has been achieved just seven times in the history of the program. The Berg also broke the team records in batting average (.353), hits (382), runs batted-in (207), home runs (22).runs scored (236), doubles (70), slugging percentage (.501), and strikeouts (180).
In addition to Artino and Moran, Hada will rely on senior Academic All-OAC catcher Megan Reinhart (Tiffin/Hopewell-Loudon) and senior pitcher Lexie Pinkelman (Metamore/Evergreen). Reinhart batted .354 and knocked in 32 runs last season, while Pinkelman was 14-7 in 22 appearances, all starts, with a 2.68 earned run average in the circle.
Heidelberg will play a doubleheader each day of competition in Clermont, facing Fredonia State (N.Y.) University and New England (N.H.) College on March 10; Bethany (W.Va.) College and SUNY – Geneseo on March 11; College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) and Mt. Ida (Mass.) College on March 12; Lesley (Mass.) College and Fairleigh Dickinson (N.J.) University on March 14; and the University of Wisconsin – Stout and Fitchburg State (N.Y.) University on March 15.
Upon returning north, the Berg will play three doubleheaders in a five-day span, hosting Defiance College (March 21) and Wittenberg University (March 25) and opening the Ohio Athletic Conference slate at Capital University (March 24). Heidelberg then goes on an eight-game road stretch with doubleheaders at Bluffton University (March 27), OAC foe Wilmington College (March 31), Case Western Reserve University (April 4) and OAC foe Muskingum University (April 6).
The Berg rounds out the regular season by facing OAC opponents in six of its last eight scheduled doubleheaders, hosting Ohio Northern University (April 11), Marietta College (April 14), the University of Mount Union (April 21), Otterbein University (April 25) and facing Baldwin-Wallace College (April 17) and John Carroll University (April 28) on the road.
Heidelberg also has non-conference doubleheaders at home with Alma (Mich.) College (April 23) and The College of Wooster (April 30).