Softball: Ohio Northern (0-0 Overall) at Sunkissed Games

Softball: Ohio Northern (0-0 Overall) at Sunkissed Games

Sunday, Mar. 4 - Saturday, Mar. 10, 2018 - Sunkissed Games, Kissimmee, Florida

Preview: The Ohio Northern softball team will begin its 2018 campaign with a week-long trip in Kissimmee, Florida, which features 12 games over the course of the week ... Ohio Northern will compete in the Sunkissed Games for the first time after taking part in the Spring Games for the last four seasons ... The Polar Bears will meet non-conference opponents DeSales (Pa.), Muhlenberg (Pa.), Thiel (Pa.), Widener (Pa.), Lebanon Valley (Pa.), Misericordia (Pa.), Illinois College, Westminster (Pa.), WPI (Mass.), Saint Joseph's (Maine), Rowan (N.J.) and McDaniel (Md.) during their annual Spring Break trip ... The Polar Bears posted an impressive 25-13 record in Jackie Price's first year as head coach of ONU, and finished fifth in the OAC at 9-9 ... Price and her staff welcome back a talented team that features 12 letter winners, led by seniors and three time letter winners Kirsten LightelMiranda HuddleJenna Hollar and Leanna Henry ... The infield will be led by junior All-OAC honoree Hailee Loughman ... Loughman returns after starting in 37 games for Northern a season ago ... The junior is a member of ONU's .300 Member Club as she has a career batting average of .316 ... She led the team in doubles (9) and home runs (5) and ranked second on the team with a .355 batting average in 2017 ... Junior and two time letter winner Laura Burden also returns for the Polar Bears in the outfield after appearing in 22 games, making 14 starts for ONU in 2017, while also returning in the infield for ONU is sophomore Gabby Stewart ... Stewart returns after a successful freshman campaign with the Polar Bears that featured 37 starts and appearances in all 38 games ... The sophomore ranked second on the team in batting average (.350), hits (43), and RBI (29) and will provide Northern with experience behind the plate at the catcher position ... Senior All-OAC honoree Jenna Hollar will look to anchor the outfield for Ohio Northern in 2018 ... Hollar is 16 stolen bases shy of becoming ONU's all-time leader in the category and ranks 14th all-time at ONU with 139 career hits ... The senior is a 3-year starter in the outfield and led the team with a .370 batting average and 44 hits last year ... Northern returns two record-breaking hurlers in the pitchers circle as Lightel and junior Kaitlin Surdej will look to be a key part of Northern's defense ... Lightel, a 3-time NFCA All-Central Region honoree, 3-time All-OAC honoree, OAC Pitcher of the Year, and former OAC Rookie of the Year will lead the group ... The senior led the pitching staff in ERA (1.01), wins (14), strikeouts (128) and innings pitched (138.0) last season and became the all-time strikeouts record holder at Northern ... Her career 1.51 ERA also ranks first all-time at Ohio Northern ... Surdej returns to Northern after a successful sophomore campaign ... The junior ranks eighth all-time at ONU with 170 career strikeouts in just two years as a Polar Bear. 

Returning Batting Leaders 2017 Stats

  Batting Ave.       Hits       Runs       RBI  
1. Hollar .370   1. Hollar  44   1. Hollar 28   1. Loughman 32
2. Loughman .355   2.  Stewart 43   2. Loughman 15   2. Stewart 29
3. Stewart .350   3. Loughman 38   3. Stewart 12   3. Henry 11

Returning Pitching Leaders 2017 Stats

  Wins       ERA       Strikeouts  
1. Lightel 14   1. Lightel 1.01   1. Lightel 128
2. Surdej 11   2. Surdej 1.90   2. Surdej 99

Series Notes: The Polar Bears will compete in the Sunkissed Games for the first time.

ONU head coach Jackie Price: Price is in her second season as head coach of the Polar Bears and owns an 25-13 record, a winning percentage of .660.