Softball Team Arrives In Florida

Jules Steurer

Jules Steurer

March 11, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Army softball team left West Point early Saturday morning to temperatures hovering in the 30s. The Black Knights landed several hours later in sun-splashed Florida only to be greeted by intermittent showers. It didn't bother players or coaches as the temperature was in the 60s.

The players enjoyed a team dinner Saturday night at BJ's, capped off by singing happy birthday to freshman Rae Anne Payleitner. Before heading back to the hotel, head coach Michelle DePologranted a shopping spree, but there wasn't a lot of time as it was drawing close to 9 p.m.

The team was up early Sunday morning only to be greeted by rain as they headed to practice at Osceola High School. It was just a drizzle when the vans pulled out of the hotel parking lot. Shortly after the team's arrival at the softball field where athletic trainer Sam Visco conducted warm-ups, the skies opened up and a steady rain fell.

The team split into three groups with some joining assistant coach Kate Stake, who was overseeing the batting cages, others heading to the outfield where assistant coach Benet Higgswas hitting fly balls, while the pitchers were under the guidance of DePolo.

The infield did not drain well causing large puddles of water throughout and making it impossible to practice game situations.

Packing up their bags, the team headed back to the hotel to change into dry clothes and head for lunch at Panera's, followed by free time with parents and friends.

The waiting is now over as Army opens its eight-game slate at the Rebel Spring Games Monday morning, March 12, against Akron at 9 a.m. and Fairfield at 11 a.m. The Black Knights are off Tuesday, returning to the diamond for games Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Army takes on Nebraska-Omaha and Utah Valley on March 14 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively, followed the next day (March 15) by Youngstown State (9 a.m.) and Houston Baptist (1 p.m.).

Using Friday, March 16, as a practice date, the team close out its week-long stay on March 17 with games against St. Peter's and Wagner at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively, before heading home on Sunday (March 18).

Returning home, Army hosts FDU (an addition to its schedule) in a doubleheader on Tuesday, March 20. The Black Knights, who had three games cancelled over a period of two tournaments because of weather, were originally scheduled to make their season debut against St. Peter's on March 28.

Army, 6-5, ended its last game on a losing note after splitting the final day of competition at the Colonial Classic March 2-4. The Black Knights defeated host George Washington, 5-4 in eight innings, but fell to Stony Brook in five.

Senior co-captain Alexis AuBuchon leads the team with a .394 average and is followed by shortstop April Ortenzo (.297) and outfielders Marina Northup (294) and Amanda Nguyen (.289). AuBuchon is the leader with 13 hits with Ortenzo and Nguyen next with 11. Northup is tied with Reanna Johnson for the lead in RBI as both have driven in five runs. Rachael Duval, who shares the captaincy with AuBuchon, is tied with junior Alex Reynoldsfor the team lead in runs with seven.

Army is batting .278 as a team and shows a 6.15 ERA. Freshman Morgan Lashley has been the workhorse in the circle pitching 45.2 innings for a 4-4 won-loss record and 4.60 ERA. Classmate Jules Steurerhas appeared in seven games with four starts and a 2-1 mark.

Florida Schedule

Monday, March 12

Army vs. Akron, 9 a.m.

Army vs. Fairfield, 11 a.m.

Fortune Road Athletic Complex

Kissimmee, Fla.

Wednesday, March 14

Army vs. Nebraska-Omaha, 9 a.m.

Army vs. Utah Valley, 11 a.m.

Fortune Road Athletic Complex

Kissimmee, Fla.

Thursday, March 15

Army vs. Youngstown State, 9 a.m.

Army vs. Houston Baptist, 1 p.m.

Fortune Road Athletic Complex

Kissimmee, Fla.

Saturday, March 17

Army vs. St. Peter's, 9 a.m.

Army vs. Wagner, 11 a.m.

Osceola County Softball Complex

Kissimmee, Fla.

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