Amanda Harrington
Ferris State’s Amanda Harrington attempts to avoid a tag as she slides into third base on Sunday afternoon against Mercyhurst during a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader. (Photo/Sandy Gholston)

Ferris Seeks To Get Back Its Killer Instinct

By Sandy Gholston

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – Ferris State is hopeful its killer instinct is back.

After returning from Florida one game below .500, at 7-8, the Bulldogs could hardly wait to get back on the softball diamond. After having a tournament canceled and a home game canceled – both do to poor weather conditions – Ferris looked toward this past weekend to get started with a pair of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheaders against Gannon and Mercyhurst.

As important as it was for the Bulldogs to get wins, it also was critical to reestablish their killer instinct. Several times, while in Florida, Ferris struggled to finish some games it felt it should have won. That was not the case this past weekend – in chilly weather conditions in Big Rapids. After giving up the first two runs to Gannon, in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Bulldogs took control. Ferris was dominant through the next three-plus games to beat the Lady Knights 4-2 and 5-0, on Saturday, and the Lakers 5-0 and 10-0, on Sunday.

The performances had a lot of people in crimson and gold smiling.

“The offensive machine is up and running right now … we had some good and key hits in these games and we’re starting to string together a lot of those hits we need to get runs up on the scoreboard,” said Ferris head coach Keri Becker, whose squad is now 11-8 on the season and 4-0 in the GLIAC. “We wanted to get it started and we did that, but we were also able to keep it going and that was one of the best things to see about our offense.”

In the first game, Ferris struck early with three runs right off the bat and added two more for insurance – one apiece in the third and fifth innings. Senior Katie Kraai, batting cleanup, had two hits in two trips to the plate with a home run, three runs driven in and one run scored. Sophomore Amanda Harrington was 2-for-4 with two runs scored as Ferris tallied five runs on six hits.

Junior pitcher Sarah Mueller proved superb with seven innings pitched, four runs allowed and three strikeouts for her fifth win of the young season against three losses.

In game two, the Bulldogs turned the killer instinct up a little more right off the bat with all 10 of their runs scored in the top of the first inning. Mueller had two hits in two trips with two runs scored and three runs driven in. Junior Krystle Bailey had two hits (with two RBI) while freshman Lynsay Weaver had a pair of hits with a pair of runs driven in. Juniors Amanda Jager and Holly Bruntjens, along with Harrington, each had one hit with a run driven.

In the circle, Bruntjens and sophomores Rhea Flores and Kayle Stevenson combined on a one-hitter effort with nine strikeouts. Bruntjens, who pitched only the first inning, earned the win to improve to 6-3 on the season. All of the pitchers, including Mueller, toughened up when they needed to over the weekend in front of a solid defense.

Ferris’ wins were complete team efforts – just what the doctor ordered for the Bulldogs who next are scheduled to see some tougher competition next weekend on the road at Northwood, in Midland, and at Saginaw Valley State, in University Center.

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