Guilford’s 2012 softball team winds up for a winning season

Sophomore+slugger+Ashley+Boteler+flashes+a+quick+smile+to+Head+Coach+Dennis+Shores+after+belting+one+of+her+team+leading+three+home-runs+on+the+season.

AARON M HOPKINS

Sophomore slugger Ashley Boteler flashes a quick smile to Head Coach Dennis Shores after belting one of her team leading three home-runs on the season.

“There’s nothing soft about softball,” Head Softball Coach Dennis Shores told the Guilfordian.

From the time softball recruits set foot on campus, they are expected to perform at a certain level, meet academic deadlines and attend mandatory study halls and academic meetings.

Oh yeah, and then there’s practice and a jam packed game schedule, not to mention mishaps caused by the sometimes unfortunate interaction between humans, fast flying round objects and large wooden sticks.

“We recruit a certain kind of student, Coach Shores said. “We look for smart, academically focused young women who can also play softball. We’re looking for a type of person who contributes to team building.”

In Shores’ six seasons at Guilford, the softball program has been growing steadily.  With the likes of 2010–11 Academic All-ODAC junior Autumn Yoder, the team leader in assisted-putouts with forty-five. Quakers’ top starting pitcher, senior Jessica Burcham, 3-3 record with seventeen strike-outs. Sophomore slugger Ashley Boteler, who leads the team with three home-runs, fifteen RBI’s and .580 slugging percentage and promising first-year Kendall Kelly, this season promises to  be one to watch.

“This year is the best group I’ve had since I’ve been here, ” Shores said.

Hmmm…. sound familiar? Can you say 2011–2012 women’s basketball ODAC championship?” What’s going on with all of these winning women at Guilford?

“We work really closely with our players, teaching them life lessons they will hopefully take with them towards being happy successful adults,” said Shores.

Shores instills in his players the ability to balance the ups and downs of the real world beyond their college years, focusing on accountability, responsibility and community by team building.

“Our season is going really well so far,” said first-year Kelly. “Our team is really close, and we rely on each other to push ourselves forward and get better, not only on our own, but as a team. If we continue to learn from our mistakes and grow as a team, we should have a great outcome this season.”

“ I really enjoy working with the team and coaches, it’s my first year on the team, and I feel so welcomed. The team bond is so close, we have no groups, and it helps us work together really well on the field.”

Junior Sarah Cutright echoed the team’s synergy.

“The softball team is a chemical machine,” said Cutright.  “We have great chemistry and it’s easy to see that everyone genuinely loves to be around one another and we have a great time together.  I am not sure if there has been a softball team at Guilford that I have been a part of that has had as good team chemistry as we do.”

In addition to an already hectic schedule, the softball team goes to bat for the American Cancer society’s Relay for the Cure event set for April 13, from 6 pm until 2 am at Armfield Athletic Center. Senior Morgan Andrews heads up the team’s organizing efforts.

“Relay for Life is an event to raise money to find a cure for cancer,”

Andrews said. “‘Cancer Never Sleeps,’ Relay for Life events are usually 24- hour events, where a member from each team walks the track at all times. Money goes to many different avenues, such as cancer research, ‘Hope Lodge,’ and ‘Look good…feel better,” said Andrews.

“The softball team is basically managing the entire event.  Some of the things this requires are recruiting, fundraising, communication with facilities and entertainment,” said Andrews.

People of the community wishing to get involved or learn more about Relay for Life at Guilford, are encouraged to go online to: www.relayforlife.org/guilfordcollege. “Anyone who wants to help in any way can e-mail me at [email protected], ” said Andrews.

Between managing fundraisers, rigorous academic routines, meeting the demands of practice and playing a ton of games, there really is nothing soft about softball at Guilford College.

“This is a very special group of girls and people should strongly consider coming out to a game or two just to see what is going on,” said Cutright.

This spring, take yourself and your loved ones out to a softball game. It promises to be well worth it.