Softball starts spring season preparation

Junior Julie Kestas finished last season with a 7-10 record and 4.06 ERA.
Photo via Scout Archive

The Bradley softball team is using the fall season to make significant improvements by the time February rolls around. The Braves have gone about their fall season by making changes to the roster and to the coaching staff.

The Braves will look to improve on their disappointing season last spring. Their record was 21-32 with a 7-19 record in Missouri Valley Conference play. The teams 7-19 conference record was not good enough to qualify for the conference tournament.

We had a really talented team last year, head coach Amy Hayes said. We certainly fell veryshort of what we should have.

This year, the Braves have added four incoming freshmen to help the team improve from last year. Hayes said every freshman can make a big impact in their first season, but Stacia Seeton has made the biggest impression on Hayes.

She can pretty much play anywhere in the infield, Hayes said. She has done a really good job

adjusting to some of the things we do offensively.

The Braves coaching staff has also changed since last season with volunteer assistant coach Rachel Huggins being promoted to a full-time assistant coach.

Additionally, Jackie Bishop joined the coaching staff as an assistant coach. Bishop comes to Bradley from the back-to-back national championships Oklahoma Sooners softball program where she served as a graduate assistant. Bishop will work with Bradleys pitchers.

Hayes said she will delegate the duties of working with the pitching staff exclusively to Bishop.

I have stepped out of the bullpen and let [Bishop] do that job, Hayes said. I think she is going to have a huge impact on our pitchers in the circle. I think it was time for a fresh look.

Overall, Hayes said she believes her team is poised to put together a stronger springtime season than last year.

I think this team has realized that and has come back with a little bit of a vengeance and a chip

on their shoulder, Hayes said.

The Braves will play two exhibition games Saturday against Heartland Community College and the University of Illinois Champaign. Finally, the Braves will play their Alumni Game Sunday to finish their fall season.