The Lake Land College softball team is preparing to begin another season and with a preseason NJCAA National Ranking of 11, the team is ready to prove themselves.
Last year the team ended the 2013 season with an overall record of 53-7 and a conference record of 29-1. The team earned 5th place at the NJCAA Division 1 National Tournament and claimed the Region 24 championship title for the third year in a row. This was the fourth time in five years the team brought home the Region 24 title while also bringing home the NJCAA Division 1 Academic American Team title for the eighth year in a row.
A record six players from last year’s team signed NCAA Division One contracts at the end of the season. This year, the team hopes to maintain its championship titles and improve its record.
“I told the players that the preseason 11th place ranking is recognition of the performance of last year’s team, and that they have yet to prove themselves yet,” said Head Softball Coach Nic Nelson. “So we’re digging in and working hard for this year’s season.”
This year’s team consists of 15 freshmen and five returning sophomores. Six of the new freshmen include all-state players Kaylee Childers, Metropolis; Page Clinton, Ina; Carly Murphy, Munster, Ind.; Sarah Lopesilvero, Simpsonville, Ky.; and sisters Mickaela and Samantha Fleming, Royal.
The five returning sophomores are starters Emily Bishop, Marshall; Cherise Boyd, Casey; Morgan Hart, Louisville, Ky.; Regan Mansur, Decatur; and Katie Watson, Louisville, Ky.
Bishop was named the 2013 NJCAA Region 24 Player of the Year and is signed with Kennesaw State as catcher for the 2014-2015 season. Watson has also signed with a university and will soon be playing short stop for Eastern Illinois University.
“I’ve been really pleased with the leadership, work ethic and attitude shown by our returning sophomores,” Nelson acknowledged.
The team will begin the season playing Crowder Community College on Feb. 15 at noon in Neosha, Mo. The first home game is set for Mar. 13 against Olney Central College at 2 p.m. on Lake Land’s campus. The full softball schedule can be found at www.lakeland.cc.il.us/ss/at/athletics/softball/schedule.cfm.