GREENVILLE, Ill. – The softball team heads into the new season loaded with talent and experience. GC returns five starters, the entire pitching rotation, and five all-conference choices. Behind head coach Brian Reinhard, the women are poised to make some noise in 2011.
Coming off of an 18-18 (9-7 SLIAC) 2010 season, the Lady Panthers have many of their statistical leaders from a year ago still intact. Headlining the returners is first team all-conference selection and SLIAC pitcher of the year Lindsey Schuberth. Last season, Schuberth, now a junior, had an ERA of 1.95 while striking out 102 batters on her way to a 12-4 campaign. She will lead a rotation that is poised to control the plate this year.
Behind the plate and in the field the GC squad is as strong as ever. First team all-conference winner Rachel Brewer will spearhead the loaded offensive attack of the Lady Panthers. Brewer will look to build on her collegiate success as a senior, and mimic her 2010 numbers that included a team leading .463 average and a .996 fielding percentage.
Adding to the firepower will be sophomore shortstop Angie Doherty. Doherty, a second team all-conference selection in 2010, led last year’s squad with 11 homers, 36 RBI and slugging percentage of .798.
Other notables include defensive stoppers junior third baseman Brya Irvin and senior outfielder Sara Mize. Irvin (first team all-conference) and Mize (second team all-conference) combined for 58 putouts in 2010 while posting fielding percentages of .821 and .955 respectively.
The 2011 Lady Panthers also boast an impressive recruiting class. Five freshman make up the talented newcomers and will join the already stacked lineup, pushing the upperclassmen and team to get better each day.
“We are a great team this year, especially offensively,” said Reinhard of his 2011 Lady Panthers. “If these ladies believe and buy in, their achievements have the chance to be outstanding.”
Reinhard headlines a staff made up of assistant coaches Erica Ritter and Ivan Estevez.
The softball team will first begin the 2011 season in Batesville, Ark., as they hit the diamond in a four-game road series on the campus of Lyon College. GC will face some of the steepest competion in the country, battling against Hannibal-LaGrange and defending NCCAA national champion Central Baptist on Friday, Feb. 18, and then facing Benedictine-Springfield and host Lyon College on Saturday, Feb. 19.