Union University enters the 2007 season with high expectations as the team is receiving votes in the NAIA preseason softball rankings. Also, the Union Lady Bulldogs are picked third in the TranSouth preseason coaches poll. Dr. David Blackstock, in his second year as coach of the softball team, will have to answer those expectations after losing eight seniors from last year. However, a solid group of returning players and a very talented lineup of new recruits will have Union fighting for yet another TranSouth Championship.

Union has just one senior on this year’s team. Kristen Kolter will get a chance to really be a leader on the field in 2007 after serving as a platoon player over her career. Kolter is threat offensively and can also catch if the need arises.

Seven juniors fill the roster with five of them being new to Union this season. Returning juniors are Amy Chatham and Candace Cross. Chatham started at shortstop last season and posted her best year offensively with All-Conference and All-Region honors. She will proved her versatility by making the move to center field this season. Cross has spent time at second base, shortstop, and as a pinch runner and will continue those roles this season. The list of transfers starts with Heidi Bybee. Bybee will play second base and catch this season. Mandy Elder will start at third base for Union and provide a solid defense at the hot corner. Brandy Hoffman gets the nod at first base, and will pitch on occasion. Hoffman also provides a very potent bat on offense. Cassie Turley will be one of Union’s top pitchers this season. Ashley Walters takes over the shortstop position with great athletic ability with talent on offense and defense.

The sophomore class has three players on the roster, each returning from freshman seasons in 2006. Bethany Burnett will provide a powerful arm that can start and pitch in relief. Kristen Kirk will start in left field while Michelle Albonetti will take over the right field duties.

Union boasts two very talented freshman in 2007. Haley Lyles, a left-handed pitcher will be one of the top hurlers on this team. Candice Thompson will start the season catching for Union as she provides great defensive skills behind the plate. She will also add depth to the pitching staff with a strong arm.

Union has finished runner-up in each of the past two season in TranSouth play. With a reloaded team set for action, Union looks to return the conference title back to Union and also advance to their sixth NAIA National Tournament.


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