Softball looks to build on program with new coach

Raven softball scoreboard and foul pole. Photo by Rocky DeSantis.

By Rocky DeSantis, The Circuit.

The Benedictine College softball team is looking forward to a change of pace with the recent hiring of new Head Coach Paul Hunt.

The Ravens finished 2017 with a conference record of 13-19 and an overall record of 21-25.

The hiring of Hunt follows the departure of Head Coach Dana Goss who had led the Ravens to their best year in school history with an overall record of 26-17 in 2015. The team finished in third place at the conference tournament that season.

Hunt was previously an assistant coach at Iowa Central where he helped the Tritons to a 40-21 record.

The new coach credits his knowledge of the game to Iowa Central’s Head Coach Rick Sandquist. He plans to model the Raven offense off of Iowa Central’s, centered more on speed and strategy.

“[Iowa Central] led the nation in stolen bases by over 100 to the next closest team,” Hunt said. “We will play that same style here.”

Hunt’s ambition for the 2018 spring season is to be in the top half of the Heart of America Conference standings.

“The conference is so evenly balanced from top to bottom that [a team] can make drastic jumps in one year,” he said.

Hunt has not overlooked the fact that the team does not have the same amount of players as other teams in the league, as well as being younger than usual.

“We need to have a couple of goals of staying healthy,” Hunt said.

He believes the team has done an excellent job in the weight room, as well as doing preventative exercises to avoid injury.

The softball team recently wrapped up their fall season workouts.    Hunt sees that the players have really bought into the program and his ambitions.

“I have been excited to see how hard they have pushed each other to make each other better and to be good teammates, and that is going to lead to good things for us,” he said.

Senior outfielder Alex Burris was one of three Ravens to receive All-Conference honors.

Burris welcomes the change and feels that Hunt provides a more approachable coaching style for the team.

“I am not afraid to tell him how I feel about stuff,” Burris said.

She led the team in stolen bases last season with 36 successful steals in 40 attempts.

“I want to beat the school record, as well as lead the conference in stolen bases,” she said.

Burris’ season goals fit into Hunt’s plans to have a fast-paced offense.

Softball season opens up at home on Feb. 14 against Kansas Wesleyan University.