The Rochester College women's softball team is going to the USCAA National tournament on May 6th in Akron, Ohio, after the school received an official bid as the top ranked team in the country. According to the team motto, "Any time, any place, let's play ball," the team has the right mental approach heading into the National Tournament. With all the ups and downs of a team in transition, plus the rainiest spring on record, the invitation seemed like a perfect way to put everything into perspective.
Coach Ogg reflects on his first season at Rochester as the year of extremes. "The biggest downfall this year happened a week before our southern trip when one of our top freshmen, Chelsea Bartley, injured her knee requiring surgery. Most teams don't lose a player with her talent and not lose something. The best moment for me was coaching my daughter, Katie, her senior year of college."
The 2011 Warrior's softball team is led by three seniors: captain & 2B/OF/pitcher Katie Ogg, Pitcher/DH Melissa Lehman, and SS/2B/C Missy Roy. All three players experienced national competition at Oakland Community College, where they were all recruited by and played for Coach Ogg before coming to Rochester College.
Freshman Tessa Tomlin (Lake Orion, MI/Lake Orion) is leading the team and the country in hits with 38 while batting .529, which ranks her among the top in the country. Melissa Lehman (Clinton Twp., MI/Oakland CC) and freshman pitcher Katie Peacock (Lapeer, MI/Lapeer East) lead the teams with four wins apiece. Brianna Serrato (Banning, CA/Banning) is the starting catcher and has caught the eye of many teams as she has picked off 17 runners trying to steal and leading off throughout the year.
Freshman Courtney Dunlap (South Pasadena, CA/South Pasadena) plays first and designated hitter. She is hitting extremely well batting a near .400 clip while playing a strong first base. According to Coach Ogg, pitcher/1B Paige Henley (Novi, MI/Macomb CC) and pitcher/outfielder Vivian Monroy (La Puenta, CA/Los Altos) both add needed depth to the pitching staff and are talented enough to help out at other positions when not on the mound.
Depth in the outfield includes returners Erica Murray (Sterling Heights, MI/Stevenson), Chelsea Vileme (Allenton, MI/Armada), Lindsey Gray (Rochester, MI/Rochester) and Heather Reinke (Sterling Heights, MI/Ford II). Reinke hit her first home run last week and, along with Gray, also provides backup pitching when needed. Freshman outfielders Nicole Deck (Macomb, MI/Dakota) and Stefana Russo (Sterling Heights, MI/Stevenson) also bring speed and talent to the outfield with Russo learning to play backup shortstop as well.
Junior college transfer, Lynnsey Norat (Macomb, MI/Macomb CC) and freshman Katelyn Kain (Mussey, MI/Capac) cover the left side of the infield most the time with Norat also playing some at first base. Freshman Gracen Myers (Rochester Hills, MI/Lutheran Northwest) and Jeni Jamison (Gaines, MI/Linden) provide solid backup at catcher and second base.
Amy Henderson (St. Clair Shores, MI/Lake Shore), Abby Prather (Rochester Hills, MI/Stony Creek) and Jessica Donavon (Chesterfield, MI/Hazel Park) have continued to improve and can add depth to the team again next season.
"I think it is ironic that our last home games this year will be played at the OCC field where I had the privilege of coaching our three seniors," says coach Ogg. "All three started their college softball at OCC and will be able to play there when they end their final season of play."
Coach Ogg finished with very optimistic gets set to head to nationals. "Growing pains and bad weather aside, going to the nationals is a bonus for a young team in transition that just loves to compete, no matter what. "Any time, Any Place Lets play ball!"