10. Jonker's Winning Ways
In her 34th season leading Central Michigan, Head Coach Margo Jonker is 33 wins away from 1,100 career victories. Jonker, 1067-647-5, is ranked 15th all-time in career victories among Division I coaches.
9. Big Shoes to Fill
With the graduation of Molly Coldren, the Chippewas will have a big hole to fill in the batting order. Coldren ranks first all-time in homeruns (44), first in runs batted in (137), and fourth all-time in runs (131). As a senior, Coldren ranked fourth in the Mid-American Conference with 47 runs batted in and was second on the team with a .348 batting average. Central Michigan will look to senior Macy Merchant and sophomore CarolAnn Sexuaer to lead the Chippewa bats.
8. Newcomers' Impact
Newcomers Katelyn Rentschler and Trista Cox made starts in the infield during an October exhibition game against the National Pro Fastpitch All Stars. Rentschler was ranked in the top 70 in the nation for her recruiting class. Evelyn Lorimer was Michigan's Miss Softball for position players in 2012 and set the state record for stolen bases in a single season (92).
7. Building on a Strong Freshman Campaign
Chelsea DeLamielleure and Carol Ann Sexauer return after having a great freshman season and will potentially start next to one another defensively all four years. DeLamielleure appeared in 47 games last spring, and ranked fifth on the team with a .274 batting average. She had 3 homeruns and brought in 23 runs. DeLamielleure was named to the 2012 All-MAC Freshman Team. Sexauer returns at shortstop for the Chippewas, and will be looked at as a major contributor at the plate. She finished third on the team with a .303 batting average and led the team with 14 doubles.
6. Getting It Done In The Classroom
Central Michigan has been excelling in the classroom, earning a team grade-point average of 3.572. The Chippewas have 13 players over a 3.5 GPA and seven players over a 3.9 GPA. Central Michigan's team GPA is tied for fifth in the nation among Division I schools and ninth among all NCAA schools. This year's team has the highest GPA in program history and is ranked in the top ten in the nation for the second time in the past three seasons.
5. High Expectations
Central Michigan comes into the season ranked No. 2 in the MAC West Division in preseason polls. The Chippewas received two first place votes, and was one of three teams receiving votes for predicted MAC tournament champions. Central Michigan lost in the MAC tournament championship game last season to Miami (Ohio).
4. Merchant At The Plate
Macy Merchant is fifth in Chippewa history with a career batting average of .341 and ninth in career-stolen bases (50). She is chasing top ten records in runs (77) and hits (123). Merchant finished the 2012 season 11th in the Mid-American Conference with a batting average .350 and led the team with 63 hits.
3. Dornbos Chasing History
Kara Dornbos has cracked the top ten in career appearances (90) and innings pitched (452). She is chasing the top ten mark in career wins (38), complete games (48), shutouts (15), and strikeouts (276). Dornbos has a career ERA of 2.17 and has been named to the All-MAC second team each of the past two seasons.
2. Returning Talent
Central Michigan is returning six starters in the field and 14 letterwinners this season, including outfielder Macy Merchant, shortstop CarolAnn Sexauer, infielder Chelsea DeLamielleure, infielder Summer Knoop, outfielder Brogan Darwin, left fielder Brittney Horan, and catcher Cory DeLamielleure. The Chippewas offense returns 71 percent of their run, 70 percent of their hits, and three of the top five batting averages from a season ago.
1. Depth In The Circle
The Chippewas return all four pitchers from a season ago along with its starting catcher. The four pitchers combined for an ERA of 2.56, which ranked third in the Mid-American Conference, and 194 strikeouts. Kara Dornbos set a new program record, appearing in 36 games last season. She had an ERA of 2.03 and pitched seven shutouts. Junior Chelsea Sundberg pitched seven complete games in 21 starts. Morgan Yuncker appeared in 18 games as a sophomore and pitched 50.1 innings. Sophomore Kristen Kuhlman had an ERA of 1.48 in 13 appearances. Cory DeLamielleure has become a leader behind the plate, calling her own pitches. DeLamielleure caught runners stealing 10 of 34 times.
The Chippewas open up the 2013 campaign Friday, February 15, at the New Mexico Lobo Classic. Central Michigan opens against Bradley, and will play five games in three days.
Follow the Chippewas all weekend long at the Lobo Classic:
Coach Margo Jonker on this season:
"We have a lot of players back in some key positions. We are young in the infield, but or battery is experienced. Cory comes back this season at catcher. She is great defensively and as a leader. With all of our pitchers back this season, it should be one of our strengths this year, and hitting we have a number of players that have power this year. Our key this year will be our defense and how consistent it can be. We have a good combination of speed and power, so I think we are in good shape going into the season."