Softball Looks to Continue Success in 2010

The Butler Softball team will look to get off to a hot start despite chilly temperatures as they head south to open their season at the Austin Peay Classic in Clarksville, Tenn. Feb. 19-21. The Bulldogs will play five games in three days against three different opponents. Butler will open its season against Tennessee State on Friday Feb. 19 at noon. The Bulldogs will then face Chattanooga in their second game of the day scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. On Saturday the Bulldogs will play two more games. They will begin the day with a second game against Chattanooga at noon and will follow that contest with a game against the host school Austin Peay at 2 p.m.  The Bulldogs will finish the weekend with a rematch against Tennessee State at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Keep Building-The 2010 Butler Softball team will look to improve upon a school record 26 wins in 2009. The Bulldogs return 15 players from last year's fourth place Horizon League finish, including seven of the eight starters from the Horizon League tournament. In addition, the Bulldogs bring back all three pitchers from last season. The team will lean on their experience as they set out to compete for a Horizon League championship.

Senior Leadership-Butler's infield will be anchored by an all-senior left side. Bridget Paine, shortstop, was the team's only First Team All-Horizon League selection in 2009. Annie Dolan, third base, has started 159 of 160 games played in her Butler career. In the outfield, centerfielder Erin Jackson will be vital to the defensive successful of the Bulldogs as well as a threat on the base paths.

Batter Up-The Bulldogs are bringing back the fire power needed to make some noise in Horizon League play. Sophomore Erin Falkenberry returns at first base after setting single season records for home runs, runs batted in and total bases and being named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer team. Paine will look to pick up where she left off in 2009 batting .500 in the Horizon League tournament and finishing second on the team in hits, doubles, triples and home runs. Sophomore Alyssa Coleman returns the team's top batting average from 2009 (.333).

Circle Up-The coaches will be able to call a host of experienced pitchers in 2010. Breanna Fisher is back after leading the team in innings pitched last season and being named to the Horizon League All-Tournament team after recording the second lowest ERA. Kristie Malinkey is back after leading the Horizon League in relief appearances in 2009. The Bulldogs will also call upon Lauren Ott, second in innings pitched in 2009, Jennifer Chasteen and freshman Jenny Esparza who was named Miss Softball in Indiana for 2009.

Behind the Dish-The Bulldogs will once again rely on Mallory Winters to handle the pitching staff. Winters was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer team in 2009. Splitting time with Winters will be Alyssa Coleman and Mellissa Shofroth.

Ready to Go- Kayla Gray returns to the field for the Bulldogs in 2010 after playing in only five games in 2009 before being sidelined with a knee injury. Jennifer Chasteen, another medical redshirt in 2009, will be back to add depth to the pitching staff. Chasteen had 14 appearances in 2008 and a team-high 25 appearances in 2007.

New Dawgs-In the offseason Jeanne Rayman went out and added four freshmen and a sophomore transfer to complete a solid recruiting class. These newcomers will have the opportunity to compete for positions throughout the season.