Softball team downed on Senior Day

Going into the final conference series of the season, the Duhawks needed to win both games of the double-header against Coe College to move on to the Iowa Conference tournament. Unfortunately, they split the two games and finished the season on the outside looking in.

In the last start of her career, senior Holly Klein surrendered an early solo home run, but held the Kohawks in check for the rest of the game. The Duhawks responded with three runs in the fourth and held on to win, 3-1.

Game 2 brought Coe’s ace, Arran Weeces, to the circle. The Duhawks had no answer early on as they fell behind 4-0 through three innings. In the fourth, junior Makaila Haase cut the deficit in half with a two-run blast. The Kohawks added another run and held off a late rally to take the second game, 5-3. With the split, the Duhawks finished the season 19-19 with a conference record of 4-10.
“We competed well this season and had an opportunity to win every ball game,” said head coach Ashley Winter. “We plan to use the experience we gained this season to help us develop an ‘expect to win’ mentality for next season.”

With the season coming to a close, the Duhawks will be losing three talented seniors. Catcher Nora Zerante was a leader behind the plate and finished with one of the strongest seasons of her career, posting highs in walks, RBI, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and hits.

Utility player Katie Serpico, best known for her bat, finished with 13 career home runs and 105 RBI.

Holly Klein, the ace of the pitching staff, finishes her career with a high of 80 strikeouts, the most for a Duhawk pitcher since 2010. A significant contributor since her freshman year, Klein finishes her career as a Duhawk with an overall era of 3.84. She pitched 337.3 innings in 90 appearances and finished with a 21-33 record. She yielded 133 walks and struck out 207 batters.

“We are losing three very dynamic seniors in Katie Serpico, Holly Klein and Nora Zerante,” Winter said. “Since their freshman season, they have made significant contributions on and off the field.

They’re great leaders and teammates that are going to be missed next year.”

Despite the loss of the seniors, the Duhawks have a good foundation for the future. Sophomore Dani Stromert had her streak of reaching base safely in every game snapped in Game 2 against Coe.

She finished this season with a .347 batting average and 44 walks, good for 4th in the nation. Makaila Haase, a junior, led the team with seven home runs and will be looked to as a leader for the pitching staff next season.

A number of first-years also made immediate impacts for the Duhawks. Regan Wolverton was a great table setter, finishing second on the team in hits (37) and led in stolen bases (12 on 14 attempts). Miranda Chapman had a .322 average and tied with Bria Lenten for most home runs by a first-year with four.

The young Duhawk squad showed a lot of promise this season and will look to build off of this success heading into their 2016 campaign.

“Our program will be looking to our upperclassmen to raise the bar,” Winter said. “(We want) to set expectations early this summer with off-season workouts and understanding that ‘next season’ is already underway. Our recruiting class for 2016 is going to add additional versatility, speed and depth. We are excited to blend our new recruiting class with our returners.”

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