Bears Pleased With Early Showing in Fall Schedule
The Mercer University softball team began its 2010 fall schedule on Saturday with a triple-header of games against several in-state programs at the Gordon College Tournament.
Unlike baseball, softball teams are allowed to play a fall exhibition schedule (Mercer has an 8-game slate). For a team that struggled at times last season, fall figures be a time for the team to make a statement.
And a statement it made on Saturday. The Bears rolled to 10-2, 15-0 and 12-2 wins against Truett-McConnell College, Gordon College and Georgia Military College respectively. MU head coach Mike Raynor said he was impressed and excited about the prospects for this team coming into next season.
“It was a great day overall,” Raynor said. “I don’t think I could have scripted the day any better.”
Mercer looked as dominate as the scores would entail, scorching opposing pitchers for 33 total hits and five homeruns in three games. The Bears who went deep included junior Stephanie Canara, who had two, junior Sara Stukes, sophomore Heather Strange and freshman Randi Rea. The homeruns for Strange and Rea were the first of their collegiate careers.
The Bears offense outscored their three opponents 37-4 and the defense was just as impressive. Bears pitchers combined for 24 total strikeouts and had no errors on defense.
“The team grew a lot on Saturday,” Raynor said. “Our team cohesiveness was great. Everyone played together as a team and I could not have asked for anything better.”
Seven newcomers got their first collegiate experience in the tournament on and the wealth of experience represented by 15 returners provided a fierce lineup for the Bears.
“The newcomers have done a great job of coming in and challenging the other players on our team,” Raynor said. “The returners have responded well and we seem to be hitting on all cylinders right now.”
The Bears will continue their fall exhibition schedule next weekend at home on Bear Field. Middle Georgia College and Columbus State will head to Macon for the double-header starting at 2 p.m. The fall schedule will wrap up at the University of Georgia in Athens on October 2.