• Southwestern's varsity softball team is preparing for its Feb. 14 debut.
    Southwestern's varsity softball team is preparing for its Feb. 14 debut.

After nearly a decade of preparation, Southwestern is launching its first season of varsity softball competition. 

The team will make its home debut Feb. 14 in a double-header against the University of Dallas beginning at 1 p.m. at the Taylor-Sanders Softball Field (Number 19 on the campus map here). A variety of festivities are being planned for the day, including a pre-game tailgate party. Free commemorative t-shirts will be given to the first 100 fans.

Carol Miller, who has been a major supporter of softball at Southwestern, will throw out the first pitch at the game. Miller provided funds to build the softball field in 1999 and the field is named after her parents. She and her husband, Dr. Bradley Miller, who is a 1953 Southwestern graduate, made a $25,000 challenge gift to help get the varsity program started. Southwestern also received a $93,000 grant from the NCAA to help launch the program. 

Despite having a team comprised largely of first-year students, Coach Angela Froboese feels confident about her team’s talent. “I think we have a shot at four to five All-Conference players,” she said. “I think once we understand what college ball is all about, we are going to be a lineup that will be hard to stop.”

One of the more experienced players on the Pirate squad is junior transfer Katelyn Gola. Gola played one season at Howard Payne University under Froboese and was named ASC West Freshman of the Year as well as being an All-ASC First Team All-Conference selection in 2007.

“Having someone come in who has already played and been successful like Katelyn has is a nice addition,” Froboese said. “Our players saw (her experience) right away and they have really responded well to her.”

What might make the biggest impact this season is Froboese’s knowledge of the conference. She has extensive experience against opposing SCAC conference opponents, and this knowledge has led her believe the Pirates should finish in the top three of the conference.  “Our goal is to at least place in the top three (in the conference),” Froboese said. “We really have a lot of talent. Even though we are young, we expect to be a contender in our conference in our first year.”

The importance of the first game and excitement surrounding it has not been lost on the Pirates. “I know the amount of effort that went into starting the program, and I am making sure that we are putting the same amount of effort into our practice on the field and into our work,” Froboese said. “Our players don’t just want to be the first team to play, they want to be the first team to win.”



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