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2008 FERRIS STATE SOFTBALL -- BLOG 24

No butterflies for Bulldogs in NCAA opener

By Sandy Gholston

NCAA Regional Photo
Ferris State University’s Amanda Jager takes a swing at a pitch during the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament in Edwardsville, Ill. on Wednesday morning at Cougar Field. (Photo/Sandy Gholston)
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – After a disappointing and abbreviated run in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Softball Tournament last weekend in Midland, Ferris State University had ample motivation entering this week’s NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Championship Tournament.

The Bulldogs (31-16), seeded sixth in the regional field, looked like a motivated and confident team as it entered a first-round contest against No. 3 Saginaw Valley State University – a GLIAC rival – at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville University’s Cougar Field. Ferris shrugged off a late-night arrival at its hotel in Alton, Ill. and overcast (sometimes rainy) weather conditions to triumph on the big stage. Considering the Cardinals had just stunned Ferris in last weekend’s GLIAC Tournament in Midland, with a come-from-behind 10-4 win, the Bulldogs had plenty to be fired up about.

“It was amazing to be able to get this win and it’s especially amazing for us because it is against Saginaw Valley,” said junior pitcher Holly Bruntjens, who started her career at Saginaw Valley State before she transferred to Ferris. “It was big for us to get off to a good start and it feels good to be able to get that first win after what happened to us, especially against them, in the GLIAC Tournament.”

In a pitcher’s duel, it was the Bulldogs who mustered the game’s lone run – a solo homer off the bat of starting centerfielder Sarah Mueller, in the top of the fourth inning, off GLIAC Player of the Year Stacy Kraatz for the 1-0 win.

NCAA Regional Photo
Ferris State University’s Katie Kraai throws to first during the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament in Edwardsville, Ill. on Wednesday morning at Cougar Field. (Photo/Sandy Gholston)
That was all the offense Bruntjens would need as she tossed seven innings, allowed three hits and struck out three to improve her record to 13-8. Bruntjens had all of her pitches working well as she kept the Cardinals’ explosive hitters off balance from start to finish. She could hardly have scripted a more gratifying victory for her, personally, and the Bulldogs, as a team.

“Everything was working for me in this game,” Bruntjens said. “I only have three pitches (fastball, dropball and a changeup) so, if they’re not working, I’m going to be in trouble. Fortunately, they were working for me (against the Cardinals).”

If you have any questions, ideas or comments feel free to contact Sandy Gholston at sgholston2@netzero.com

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