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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Falcons open season at Frost Classic tourney

The spring softball season is here and not a moment too soon for the BGSU softball team, who has been preparing since their 2004 fall season.

“The girls worked so hard in the off-season and it’s such a long off-season, they’re really just ready to play,” head coach Leigh Ross-Shaw said.

Ross-Shaw is in her seventh season at the helm of the Falcons. Assistant coach Kyle Jamieson is in his second season.

The squad ended their season last year successfully with a berth in the NCAA Tournament regionals after claiming the 2004 Mid-American Conference Tournament crown.

Twelve players return from last year’s squad and several will play a key role in the Falcon’s success this season. Four Falcons were named to the 2004 All-MAC team last season. Those players were Gina Rango (first team) and Jeanine Baca, Linsay Heimrich, and Liz Vrabel (second team).

Vrabel (1.46 ERA) returns to continue her dominance on the mound. Vrabel, a junior, pitched the majority of innings for last season’s squad. Ross-Shaw expressed high confidence in her ability and potential.

“She could be the most dominant pitcher in the MAC if all goes well,” Ross-Shaw said.

Rango is another force returning to the Falcons for the 2005 season. With a team high a .372 batting average and school record 9 career home runs, Rango is an offensive power.

“[Rango] led the team offensively and I expect her to do the same thing this year,” Ross-Shaw said.

Centerfielder and lead off hitter Jeanine Bacca and first baseman Lindsay Heimrich will also be key returning players for BG.

This year’s freshmen class is full of promising talent. Freshman pitcher Emily Gouge has already impressed the coaching staff.

“The true test [for Gouge] will be when we get out here and see other teams,” Ross-Shaw said. “She’s a pretty polished pitcher already, for a freshman.”

Joining Gouge in the freshmen class are power batter Allison Vallas, shortstop D.J. DeLong and Centerfielder Brecken Libbe. Ross-Shaw says that any of the incoming freshmen could have a great impact on the team.

“Our entire freshmen class has the potential to be in the lineup,” she said.

After winning the MAC Tournament last year, the Falcons have been picked to finish second to Central Michigan in the West Division. Ross-Shaw said a strong Miami team as well as a young Marshall squad will be opponents to beat in the conference, but also said there is plenty of talent on all the teams in the conference.

Ross-Shaw hopes this weekend’s nine-hour trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee will help the team focus on their goals for the upcoming season.

“I can say for sure, a big team goal is to play consistently at our level,” she said.

With the amount of preparation the Falcons have under their belt, consistency appears to be an attainable goal.

“Unlike a lot of other sports, we train for so many months before we play. We’ve really been preparing since mid-October,” Ross-Shaw said.

BG has used fall ball, individual workouts and conditioning, scrimmages and real game situations to prepare themselves for this spring’s season.

The BGSU softball squad’s opening competition will be this weekend at the University of Tennessee’s Frost Classic in Chattanooga. The team will play Virginia and Tennessee on Friday, Tennessee Tech and Bradley on Saturday and Kentucky and Purdue on Sunday.

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