Softball season begins

Thursday, April 9, behind Bellevue College’s somewhat glamorous baseball field, a group of girls is stretching; discussing school, boys, life, and of course softball.

While at first glance these girls may seem harmless, they transform into competitive athletes right before your eyes.

As each of the players finish their warm-ups and don their gloves, the sounds of conversation are replaced with the noise of hard sprints, pounding gloves, and ringing bats.

Through drills and various exercises, Bellevue’s girls operate like a well-oiled machine, acting in unison, both perfection and effort beaming from every stride and throw.

Behind this machine is Leah Francis, the Bulldog’s softball coach.

Francis, currently in her fifth year as BC’s softball coach, has led the college to division titles in 2005, 2006, and 2008, a second place finish in 2007, and four consecutive NWAACC Championship Tournament appearances.

Though the team wasn’t a championship winner this season, the Bulldogs did obtain the first division titles for softball that the college has ever seen.

As of now, “[BC] is 6-2 and is currently ranked #3 in the NWAACC’s coaches poll,” said Coach Leah Francis.

While this is great news for BC and the team, the Bulldogs still have a way to go until the NWAACC Tournament, scheduled to be on May 15-17 in Portland, Oregon.

Another exceptional prospect regarding the ’09 season, according to Francis, is that they are coming off a big win against no.1 ranked Lower Columbia, beating them 12-0 in five innings.

Key players, as explained by Francis, include, “pitcher, Michelle Ruby [with a] record two-hit shutout.” Francis will also include second baseman Korri Heideman, hitting for the cycle.

However accomplished the ’09 team and season may seem, the team has in fact, experienced a good deal of setbacks and other occurrences that have generated a great amount of adversity and difficulty for the Bulldogs.

“The weather has been the biggest setbacks thus far this season,” said Francis, “as we have had 10 games rained out and have not been able to practice outside in about 3 weeks.

“We are anxious to play games on a consistent basis and hope the weather improves for the remainder of the season.”

Despite the various setbacks and struggles that the team has faced, Francis believes that she has “a strong team, with the potential to go far this season.”

The coach is looking forward to seeing what they can do over the next six to seven weeks of the season.

The BC softball team will be playing today at 2:00 in Bellevue’s home  field, Robinswood Park against Edmonds. Their next game will be on Thursday, April 16 against Everett at their home field, Everett CC Sport Center.