New Coach Set to Start Season for Millikin Softball Squad

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Published on February 13 2013 5:09 pm
Last Updated on February 13 2013 5:09 pm
Written by Millie Lange

DECATUR, Ill. -- Millikin Head Softball Coach Amber Dohlman enters her first season at the helm of the Big Blue. Dohlman, who was previously an assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, has a promising mix of young talent and proven veterans entering the 2013 campaign as the team looks to finish in the top of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW).

The Big Blue, who finished 23-18 overall last season, return six starters back from last year’s team that ended up third in the CCIW regular season standings. “It’s great to have such a strong core of returning players,” said Dohlman.

Leading the list of returners are four seniors. In the circle, is right-handed pitcher Lauren Kitterman (Bloomington, Downs Tri-Valley H.S.), who was a CCIW All- Conference Second Team At-Large award winner. Last year she had an overall record of 12-7 with a 2.30 ERA.

Outfielder Cora Jeffers (Sherman, Williamsville H.S.) is the only other returning CCIW All-Conference player from last season. She was named an outfielder on the CCIW All-
Conference Second Team. Jeffers led the conference last season in stolen bases (27 overall, 12 conference) and in runs scored. Jeffers currently holds the Millikin career stolen base record
with 63.

Rounding out the senior class is second baseman Tess Strang (Urbana, Culver Academy) and pitcher Janet Ellis (Latham, Warrensburg Latham H.S.). Strang started in all 41 games last year for the Big Blue and hit .300. She tied for first on the team in doubles (8), leads the returners in RBIs (17) and had three homeruns. Ellis, who shared pitching duties with fellow senior pitcher Kitterman last year, threw in 90 innings boasting a 2.80 ERA. She also brought a spark to the team offensively batting .320 with two homeruns and driving in 12 RBIs.

Junior shortstop Meghan Matthews (Clinton, H.S.) brings a familiar face to the left side of the field. Matthews started in all 41 games last year. She batted .203 and was second on the team in assists (92). Alongside her is sophomore third baseman Becca Thompson (Hanover Park, Schaumburg H.S.), who led the team in assists last season. Thompson hit .237 last year and looks to improve on that this year.

Juniors Rachel Bishop (Villa Grove, H.S.), Hillary Shelton (Beecher City, H.S.), Hillary Lambert (Donovan, H.S.) and sophomore Rachel Kindred (Ottawa, H.S.) look to contribute to the team at a higher capacity this year. All four players saw some time with the Big Blue last season but hope to hold down a more permanent role this year.

Also a member of the team is Amber Shedelbower, a 5-foot-8 junior pitcher from Newton and Wabash Valley Community College.

The Big Blue also has a good group of new players to the program. “We have a strong and versatile group of first year players. It will be exciting to see who steps up and can help us get to where we want to go this season, “said Dohlman.

Millikin opens its season on Sunday March 10 at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee,
Fla., with games against Marietta College and Albion College. The Big Blue’s home season
begins with a Noon doubleheader on March 30 against Washington University in St. Louis.