The 2005 season for the Union University Lady Bulldogs softball team begins like many before. The expectations are again high as Union is ranked No. 12 in the NAIA Preseason Rankings as well as being ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Region XI and TranSouth Conference preseason polls. Among the seniors lost last season was four-time NAIA All-American pitcher Leah Gronberg, the TranSouth Conference Player of the Year in first baseman, Christina Johnson, and All-Conference shortstop Amy Mejia. Union head coach Brian Dunn has six returning players, five of which are starters, along with eight newcomers to help reload a team that has won six straight conference championships and has been to four straight NAIA Softball World Series.

Leading the way are seniors Allison Shein and Sara Batey. Shein is a four-year senior who earned a starting roll as a sophomore in left field and has started ever since. She has developed into one of the best slap hitters Union has ever had. Batey started last season at second base, but will move to shortstop this season. This is her third season with the Lady Bulldog softball team.

The junior class has three returning players, plus six transfers to make up by far the biggest class for Union in recent history. The three returning juniors have each started every season since their freshman years. Holly Haycraft starts in center field and has set the Union stolen base records for season and career during her first two seasons. Mary Kosco has been a starter for Union’s pitching staff for two years and will be thrust into the lead role this season. Jessica Kee has started at third base for Union since her freshman year. She has proven in her career that she can be one of the best RBI producers in the league. Six junior transfers join Union new this season. Kim Fuchs will play in the outfield, at first base, and designated player. Kylie Sullivan will spend most of her time catching but can also play in the infield. Amber Bryant is a player that will help Union in both the infield and outfield. Jackie Cliff will be the second person in the Union starting rotation along with Kosco. Danielle Pope will get the start for Union at first base this season for Union. And finally, Chrissa Norton will be used as a designated player, and part of the pitching staff.

The sophomore class has just one player, Kristen Kolter. Kolter returns after a freshman season were she caught and also was the designated player.

Union has two freshman coming in this season. Amy Chatham and Candace Cross both give Union immediate options as freshman. Chatham will see time at second base and can also pitch. Cross can played both of the middle infield positions.

This 2005 edition of the Union University Lady Bulldog softball team marks the 11th team in Union softball history. These players understand that every time they step onto the field, they have a chance to add to an already special program with a 10-year history of winning. This team looks for nothing less that to earn that seventh TranSouth Regular Season Championship, and advance through the conference and region tournaments on their way to a fifth straight NAIA Softball World Series and sixth in seven years.


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