Alma College Softball Season Preview

ALMA, Mich. - The Scots are looking forward to the upcoming season as they return 14 players with varsity experience from a team that went 26-13 overall and 15-6 in MIAA play.

Recognized as one of the premier programs in the country, Alma has produced an overall record of 445-128 in the last 13 years, a stellar .776 winning percentage. In that span they have won 10 league crowns and five NCAA Regional titles, finishing as high as third in the country in 1999 and 2000 and making World Series trips as recently as 2004 and 2005. The Scots are typically ranked in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III poll and are always a threat to contend for Regional and National Championship honors.

Alma returns a significant part of its lineup in 2007, including its top three pitchers to make a run for another league championship. Seniors Emily Blahnik (Corunna), Kay McDonald (Rosebush/Mt. Pleasant) and Angie Asam (Rogers City) will lead an experienced team this season. McDonald, a second team All-MIAA pick, was one of the key pitchers for the Scots last season winning key league and tournament games. Blahnik was a first team All-MIAA player and led the team in hitting with a .348 average while holding down an outfield position. Asam was a valuable utility player and one of the team's top pinch runners and looks to earn some outfield time as well this season.

Junior Amy Gaudard (Mt. Pleasant) returns for her third year as the starting shortstop and has led the Scots in hitting for the past two seasons, being named first team All-MIAA in 2006 while classmate and leadoff hitter Missy Morcom (Chelsea) is also back to provide both speed and power at the leadoff position. Gaudard led the team with 33 RBI a year ago, while Morcom was the leader with six home runs, batted .336 and was a second team all-league honoree. Classmate Taylor Erwin (Fenton) was an every-day starter last season and brings outstanding defense and a steady bat to the lineup while Liana Easterby (Troy) has a powerful bat and will be pushing for playing time in the infield this year.

After sitting out her freshman year, pitcher Allie Gooch (Vermontville/Charlotte) came back in 2006 and became one of the Scots' regular starters. She was also named all-conference honorable mention along with Erwin. Junior Katie Seagraves (Lapeer/East) transferred to Alma from Lansing Community College and will compete for the first base position while Heather Saputo (Macomb Twp./East Detroit) will also battle for playing time.

The sophomore class plays an important role as several key players return and more are waiting their chance for varsity time. Trista Geier (Livonia/Walled Lake Western) and Sarah Seals (Alma) split the catching duties as freshman and bring experience and strong hitting to the lineup while pitcher Katie Koechling (Wheaton, Ill./North) had a fine first season leading the Scots on the mound and making the All-MIAA first team as a freshman. Erica Guitar (Croswell-Lexington) and Brittany Fales (Midland/Dow) each spent significant time with the varsity a year ago and are ready to make the most of their opportunities for playing time in 2007.

Other sophomores in the mix are Tracy Blessing (Birch Run), Jamie Christian (Allenton/Armada), Megan Darcy (Ravenna), Brittany Law (Hartland) and Lilly Pritula (Ann Arbor/Manchester).

Alma again plays one of the toughest schedules in Division III including a 10-game trip to Fort Myers, Florida and an additional trip to the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic to be held in Panama City, Florida. In their previous two trips to this 24-team tournament between the finest teams in the country, Alma finished as the runner-up in 2001 and in fourth place in 2004. Five or six games in this setting will be a great experience in preparation for the regular season.

The 16-game MIAA schedule and tournament should be a challenge again and the Scots also have a 20-game junior varsity schedule. With a wealth of varsity players returning along with support from the JV team and another strong incoming freshman class, look for Alma to again be one of the favorites in 2007. Watch the Scots as they bring their trademark enthusiastic style of play to work towards another MIAA title and NCAA trip.