Nationally ranked softball opens season 4-0

Haiden Widener, Campus Carrier Sports Editor

Ranked sixth nationally for Division III, the softball team opened their season 4-0 this weekend after two games on the road and two at home.

They started their weekend off in Montgomery, Ala., against the Huntingdon College Hawks. The first game ended 14-3, and the second one ended 9-0. 

The team then travelled back home to Berry that night and played two games against Piedmont on Sunday. Those games ended 5-2 and 8-0. 

“Although the scores maybe looked like it was a breeze, against both Huntingdon and Piedmont, we had two very close games that sparked a little competitive atmosphere,” Head Coach Cori Thiermann said. 

Even though they walked away with four wins this weekend, they are still hoping to improve the communication of the defense and the focus and batting quality on offense. 

“Of course you want to walk away with wins,” Thiermann said. “But I think the bigger picture is walking away with a list of things we need to work on.”

But this weekend, the team walked away with more than a list of improvements and four wins. 

On Sunday,  Thiermann earned her 200th career win as Berry’s head coach. She started her first head coaching job here in 2008. That equals just over 22 wins per season over the last nine years.  

“I’m just really thankful that I can do it here at Berry,” she said. “It’s a really great school and program to be involved with, just a great place to be.” 

Senior Brittany Ferrell began her final season on a positive note with five hits, six runs and three RBI’s. 

“I want to go out there and make it my best year,” Ferrell said. 

But she isn’t the only one determined to have the best year yet. Junior Brittany Tuttle went 9-for-12, scored eight times, had four RBIs and an in-the-park home run. 

She was not only named the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) player of the week, but also the NCAA Division III player of the week. 

“She had an incredible weekend,” Thiermann said. “That’s 365 D3 schools, and she was named the best player.” 

Junior Kylie Aiken knocked out a home run against Piedmont on Sunday, and junior Kassie Howard earned SAA pitcher of the week, only allowing five hits throughout their four games.  

“We’ve worked really hard through the pre-season, and I think that showed this weekend,” junior Brittany Tuttle said.

Since the team only lost two seniors last season and added six freshman this season, their expectations for the year are still set very high. 

“We want to work hard through conference and win the conference tournament,” Tuttle said. “We want to make it past regionals, then through super regionals and we hope to be out there during national championship day.”

Losing in the regional championship last season has made them hungry to continue winning and go even further in the tournament. 

“They are very eager to give their best and know that it’s right at their fingertips,” Thiermann said. “There’s that want to take this team as far as we all know it can go.” 

With a top notch team chemistry this season, players agree that this season will be one to remember for everyone. 

“We all gel really well together,” Ferrell said. “Coaches, players, we all click, and I think we’re the perfect group of teammates.”

Tuttle added to that team confidence.

“I can honestly say, with this being my third year, I feel like this is the best we’ve ever gelled together as a team,” she said. 

With the first weekend of play under their belt, they are ready to take on seventh-ranked Texas Lutheran and fourth-ranked Emory at home on Kay Williams Field this weekend. 

The team will take on Texas Lutheran twice on Friday, at                   1 p.m. and 3 p.m. 

They will face Emory twice on Saturday. Their first game, a Pack the House event, starts at 1 p.m. Their second at 3 p.m., finishing off their four game weekend. 

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