DEFIANCE, OHIO – The Defiance College Yellow Jacket softball team will look to build on last season's HCAC post season push as they return a wealth of talent in 2019. The Purple and Gold return seven seniors from last season's squad that finished 23-14 overall, 10-6 in HCAC action.
"We're excited, we've overcome a lot this year and we've had a great preseason," stated acting head coach Megan Warren. "We have some great leadership on this team and they've really stepped up."
Osborne, a First Team All-HCAC selection, appeared in 37 games for the Yellow Jackets making a team-high 131 plate appearances, with 54 hits and three triples. She ranked second on the team with a .412 batting average and two stolen bases. The NFCA All-American Scholar-Athlete recorded 52 putouts, while posting a career .964 fielding percentage.
Richards played in 31 games with 82 at bats. The junior registered 21 hits, scoring 10 runs with nine RBI. She finished the 2018 season with a .256 batting average and a stolen base. Defensively, Richards tallied 25 putouts for a .963 fielding percentage.
The Purple and Gold will also look to get contributions from senior Paige Sickmiller (Leipsic), sophomore Erin Breece (Hamler/Patrick Henry), sophomore McKenzie Baker (Bellville/Clear Fork) and new comers Makenzie Wilson (Haskins/Ostego), Allie Hazen (Mishawaka, Ind.) and Stevie Brooks (Leipsic).
Defiance returns the bulk of its infield, welcoming back four starters from a season ago in sophomore Emma Perry (Bowling Green/Otsego), junior Brooke Gostomsky (Dayton/Covington), senior Jackie Hartman (Parma/Padua Franciscan), and senior Michaela Bauer (Hicksville).
Bauer appeared in and started 31 games at first base for DC. The senior recorded 90 at bats with 31 hits, including eight doubles and 16 RBI. She finished second on the team in triples with two and fourth on the team in homeruns with a .344 batting average. Bauer registered 244 putouts and six double plays for a .977 fielding percentage.
Hartman saw action in 36 games making 100 plate appearances. She tallied 27 hits, scoring 16 runs with six doubles. The senior ranked third on the team in homeruns with two and fourth in RBI with 18. She tallied 96 putouts with 77 assists at second base.
Gostomsky started at third base for the Purple and Gold with 37 game appearances. She had 38 putouts with a team leading 82 assists for a .930 fielding percentage. Brooke had 116 plate appearances, scoring 31 runs on 39 hits. The junior led the team with five homeruns, 10 doubles and ranked third on the team in RBI with 22.
Perry, a Second Team All-HCAC selection, started 37 games at catcher for the Yellow Jackets. She made 120 plate appearances ranking second on the team in hits with 53 and first in RBI with 32. Perry ranked second on the team in homeruns with three and doubles with nine.
Sophomore Hali Geraci (Springboro) will also look to make a contribution in the lineup this year. Geraci saw action in five games with 10 at bats. The sophomore recorded three hits, with two runs scored and two RBI.
Senior Rebekah Groden (North Olmsted), junior Madi Baker (Kettering/Fairmont), sophomore Jen Nashalsky (Galloway/Hilliard Bradley), and junior Jada Lopez (Leipsic) will return to the infield this year adding experience to the lineup.
The Purple and Gold also welcome freshman Kelsie Shafer (West Alexandria/Twin Valley South), Zoe Doll (Minford), Kalin Hubble (Anderson, Ind.), Kaylee Dunkle (Stoutsville/Canal Winchester), and Sophie Moller (Pickerington/North) to the infield for the 2019 season.
"Our defense is extremely experienced and our young players are playing with confidence," added Warren. "Offensively, we stack up against anyone and I'm excited to see what we can accomplish this season."
Seniors Rachel Wehrman (Fort loramie/Minster), and sophomore Taylor Biggs (Cincinnati/Oak Hills) will get the bulk of the action in the circle for the Yellow Jackets. Wehrman appeared in 19 games with 11 starts recording a 5-6 overall record. The senior saw 91.1 innings of action with 45 strikeouts. She allowed 40 runs on 93 hits for a team-best 2.61 ERA earning her Second Team All-HCAC honors.
"We have a lot of options in the circle this year. Rachel is back after a great junior season and we have a few fresh arms that our opponents haven't seen," stated Warren. "The team is having fun and we have a really positive culture. We're just ready to bring that energy to the field."
The Yellow Jackets open the 2019 season with their annual spring break trip to Kissimmee, Fla. where they will compete in the Spring Games from March 2-8. Defiance will open the season with Johnson & Wales (RI) on March 2 at 9:00 a.m.