ANDERSON — A year after making a historic run to the school’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III National Championship, the Anderson University Lady Ravens are ready to take that next step.
However, they will do it with a renovated roster. Gone are eight players from last year’s squad and 11 freshmen have stepped in to fill the void. Led by veteran coach Tony Holloway, the Lady Ravens have gotten off to a strong start as the veterans and rookies are meshing quickly.
Holloway, who won the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Central Region Coaching Staff of the Year award in 2013, can rely on returning hitters Nichole Frazier and Yardley Collett to go along with strong pitching from sophomores Hannah Belvo and Sami Frazier.
The team is now 9-2 on the season and 2-0 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference after sweeping a double-header over Franklin on Sunday. Anderson played nine games in Florida to start the season and went 7-2.
“We knew going down to Florida, we were hoping to play decent down there and overcome the newness of 11 freshmen,” said Holloway. “Coming back 7-2, it was the best start we had since we started going down there.”
Belvo went 3-0 and Frazier was 3-2, losing two one-run games early in the trip. Freshman Rachel Fiscus picked up the other victory in relief. As a staff, Anderson pitchers had a 1.60 ERA and held opponents to a .215 batting average.
“We want our starters to get into the third and fourth innings with a chance to win,” Holloway said. “We have a lot of confidence in Megan Wade and Rachel Fiscus (both freshmen), who have both come in relief and got wins for us.”
It helped as the team started slowly at the plate, but the Lady Ravens have started to rebound. Anderson has a speedy 1-2 combination at the top of the order that gives Holloway options. “We are extremely fast, a little different than we’ve been in the last three or four years,” said Holloway.