Bats heating up for FSU

Bulldogs beginning to hit on all cylinders as regular season comes to a close

BIG RAPIDS — Although the Ferris State softball team suffered a pair of setbacks to Ashland on Sunday, coach Dawn Thompson has seen her team bounce back time and time again from setbacks this season.

Prior to Sunday’s sweep at the hand of the region’s No. 2 ranked team, the Bulldogs (21-21, 12-12) had won nine of its last 11 contests in GLIAC play after a slow start to the season. Before that, the Bulldogs had lost six of seven games.

While pitching and defense had been strong suits for FSU in the early stages of the season, Thompson said getting the team’s hitters going has made a huge difference.

“I think we’re just more consistent right now,” Thompson said following a win over Ohio Dominican on Saturday. “Our hitters are more aggressive at the plate and swinging at good pitches. A lot of times hitting is just contagious.”

HEATING UP: FSU first baseman Chelsea Morris (center) celebrates a home run she hit against Ohio Dominican. (Pioneer file photo)

Thompson has a talented lineup to work with this season, including reigning GLIAC Player of the Year Chelsea Morris.

Morris, who is hitting .277 this season after hitting .331 a season ago, is just beginning to hit her stride this season, along with third baseman Makenzi Peterson, who leads the team with a .340 average this year.

The Bulldogs also have had players in the lineup emerge, including junior catcher Liz Hamming, who has emerged as one of the team’s top power hitters with seven home runs and 26 RBI this season, after appearing in just nine games last spring.

“We’ve got a number of players that are hitting and obviously our pitching has been great all year,” she said. “We’re just putting it all together at the right time. The kids have been doing a nice job of staying at it and not getting discouraged by some of the struggles we had earlier in the season.”

It’s been a matter of getting the hitting and pitching going at the same time, FSU pitcher Dana Bowler said.

“I think throughout the entire season, we knew that we had all the components to be a great winning team,” she said. “We were just a little inconsistent in finding our hitting and pitching at the same time. Once we put that together, we were just working on maintaining our swings and keeping our pitches tight.”

Bowler, who leads FSU with a 10-9 mark in the circle this season, said the late season surge is encouraging with the GLIAC tournament looming on the horizon.

“We struggled in the beginning of the conference with Wayne State, Findlay and Grand Valley,” she said. “It means a lot to come back and start winning in the conference before we get to the GLIAC tournament.”

Thompson believes her team has the resolve and chemistry to continue to make noise in the GLIAC for the remainder of the season.

“It’s all been about staying the course,” she said. “We were playing well, we just got some bad breaks. You can’t allow this game to frustrate you, because there are a lot of failures in it. To find success, you just have to keep going after it.”

The Bulldogs are in action again at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Northwood.

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