2013 Willamette Softball Season Outlook

Bearcats to Feature a Young and Talented Team

By John Lind, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University softball team, which will feature a young roster this season, achieved a 21-15 overall record in 2012, including 19-9 in the Northwest Conference (3rd place). Willamette’s conference record included a 2-0 road upset of then top-ranked Linfield College on April 14. The Bearcats also qualified for the four-team NWC tournament.

Willamette will field a young but talented team in 2013. Despite having only three seniors and two juniors, Head Coach Damian Williams is optimistic about what the season will bring.

“We will be a young and exciting team this year,” Williams said.

The Bearcats hope to capitalize on the return of several offensive standouts. Kelli Snyder (Sr., C, Longview, WA/Kelso HS) led the team with a .400 batting average in 2012. Snyder also ranked first on the team with a .514 on base percentage. She contributed 24 hits and 11 RBIs en route to becoming a First Team All-NWC selection.

Yvonne Drabin (Sr., OF, Fremont, CA/Moreau Catholic HS) also returns as an offensive force for the Bearcats. In 2012, she played in 31 games with 28 starts, was third on the team with a .364 batting average, and contributed 24 hits and 11 RBIs. For her efforts, Drabin was chosen First Team All-NWC.

Heather Winslow (So., OF, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) will work to continue the success from her breakout freshman year. Last spring, Winslow started 33 games and hit .345 with 30 hits and 20 RBIs. She was a power threat for Willamette, and led the team with five home runs and a .644 slugging percentage. Winslow was named Second Team All-NWC for her efforts.

Allie Martin (Jr., UTIL, Thousand Oaks, CA/West Lake HS) will provide valuable experience with both her bat and her glove. Martin hit .237 in 16 appearances last season while driving in nine runs. Just as important was Martin’s defensive consistency, as she committed no errors for a 1.000 fielding percentage. On the field, she will step in and play third base for the Bearcats.

Willamette’s incoming freshman class adds talent to the team as well. Williams believes that despite their lack of collegiate softball experience, WU’s five new players on the team will have an immediate and lasting effect.

“The freshmen are going to make a huge impact,” Williams said. “All five players will see lots of playing time.”

On the mound, the Bearcats will be aided by the return of Hayley Glantz (So., P, Reno, NV/Robert McQueen HS). Last season Glantz started 16 games, pitched 89 2/3 innings and recorded 42 strikeouts. Glantz was particularly impressive over her last 10 appearances of the season, posting a 6-3 record with a 3.52 ERA.

Joining Glantz on the pitching staff will be freshmen Victoria Bradshaw (Fr., P, Discovery Bay, CA/Liberty HS) and Erin Bueser (Fr., P, Mill Creek, WA/Henry M. Jackson HS). Bradshaw was named First Team All-League during her senior year pitching for Liberty High School. Bueser was a three-year varsity letterwinner at Henry M. Jackson High School and served as the team captain her senior year.

Willamette will open its season this weekend, Feb. 16-17, when it travels to Clackamas, Ore. to participate in the Northwest Cup. The Bearcats will play four games over the course of the weekend: Sat., Feb. 16 – vs. College of Idaho, 9 a.m. (PST); vs. Corban, 11 a.m.; Sun., Feb. 17 – vs. Oregon Tech, 1 p.m.; vs. Concordia, 3 p.m.

The Bearcats will begin conference play the following weekend, Feb. 23-24, with a four-game home series against George Fox University. The teams will play two games at the WU Softball Field starting at 12 p.m. (PST) each day.

Kelli Snyder has played in 98 games for the Bearcats. She begins her senior season with a .333 career batting average.

Kelli Snyder has played in 98 games for the Bearcats. She begins her senior season with a .333 career batting average.