The Lady Oilers’ spring season kicks off Feb. 26 in Illinois
By Kevin Schrock
For 13 years coach Ron Ammons has been at the helm of The University of Findlay softball program, but this year the Oilers have turned to Danielle Lowe who has taken over as the new head coach. Lowe, facing no easy task replacing the Oilers all-time win leader, is confident that by focusing on the little things they can build off their 26-23 record last year.
Lowe, who graduated from UF in 2006, is still in the record book as one of only four players to play in 52 games in a season. She went on to serve as an assistant coach for the Oilers from 2006-2010 where she learned even more under Ammons. Finally, before accepting the job at Findlay she was the head coach at Urbana University from 2010-2015.
“Coming back has been amazing,” said Lowe. “I have a lot of philosophies that coach Ammons has pretty much instilled in me.”
According to Lowe, the Oilers are focused on coming together as one unit this year. Although the Oilers softball program has a history of playing well, the goal is now to get to the next level and go from good to great.
“The thing that’s going to help us is to stay together as a team,” said Lowe. “With better focus hopefully it will take care of the little things come game time.”
The Oilers have a pair of second team all-GLIAC picks from a year ago back again this year. One is sophomore pitcher Chelsea McManaway who took the league by storm her freshman year. She tallied a 15-6 record on the mound for the Oilers and set a new school record by striking out 171 batters.
“We’ve also added to our pitching staff with Jenna Inman, Hailey Bryan, Molly Crosby, and Morgan James,” said Lowe. “We’re going to try to use our staff this year to make good things happen.”
Trumpler, who hit .340 a year ago, also led the team with five home runs. She will look to anchor an experienced and proven lineup. Junior Katie Dunphy returns after hitting .356 a year ago and knocking out four home runs. Haley Apple, Kelley Cejer, and Brooke Scherger also all hit over .300 in 2015.
“I tried to come into the fall with fresh eyes and a fresh look,” said Lowe. “I tried to guess at the end of the fall who our top hitters were last year and I guessed a couple but a couple I didn’t.”
With not much concern at the plate the Oilers know that if they field the ball they will get wins. The key to their success behind their pitchers, according to Lowe, will be communication.
The Oilers will travel to Rosemont, Illinois where they will play a pair of doubleheaders indoors Feb. 26 and 27. Immediately following that they will fly to Florida for another week of games in Clermont.
Findlay’s home opener is scheduled for March 15 against Cedarville.