MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – With spring around the corner the Central Michigan softball team has been working hard in preparation for the 2014 campaign.
Head coach Margo Jonker enters her 35th season at the helm of the Chippewas and is looking to pick up where the team left off last season.
“I’m looking forward to a great season and to getting started,” Jonker said. “We’ve been practicing for quite a while now and the players are pumped to just get outside.”
Central Michigan will open up against Drake on February 7 at the Rosemont Rumble in Rosemont, Ill. It will be the first of four games the Chippewas play in a three-day span.
“Getting outside competition is the main thing right now to see where we stand,” Jonker said. “We have a very solid infield coming back, we have pitching with some experience and we have behind the plate with a lot of experience so I anticipate having a really good year.”
The Chippewas will look to their six seniors to lead CMU to the program's 12th regular season MAC title en route to back-to-back MAC Tournament Championships.
Senior Cory DeLamielleure will serve as team captain after earning Second Team All-MAC honors and being selected to the All-Tournament Team in 2013. The St. Clair Shores native returns for her senior season after leading the team last year in triples (4) and tying the team-high in both home runs (7) and RBIs (34).
Returning to the mound for the Maroon and Gold is senior Chelsea Sundberg. Sundberg appeared in 26 games starting 18, posting a 2.75 ERA, which ranked eighth best in the MAC, earning a ninth-best 11 wins.
Of the 19 student-athletes making up this year’s roster, 13 are returning letterwinners.
Canton, Mich. native CarolAnn Sexauer also earned Second Team All-MAC accolades in addition to a selection on the All-Tournament Team. The junior boasted a .323 batting average, starting all 53 games last season. Sexauer led the team in doubles (12) and tied the team-high in both home runs (7) and RBIs (34).
Three freshmen will join the Maroon and Gold this season including pitcher/first base Rachael Knapp, and catcher/infielder Danielle Marlink reigning from Michigan, while infielder Tateum Valentine comes to Mount Pleasant from Hopewell Junction, N.Y.
I’m excited about the season and I’m excited about the players we have,” Jonker said. “I think it’s going to be challenging, but I think we should be vying for the title again.”