MILWAUKEE – After another record setting season by the Mount Mary University softball team (14-21), it is time to take a look at the 2016-17 season. A bittersweet finish to the year as MMU set record marks in wins, recruiting class size and strength of schedule, but the end of the year also comes with the news of head coach Tim Edwards stepping down from his position.
With a largest recruiting class in school history, the Blue Angels added much depth to the roster. However, the early part of the season saw the "green" Blue Angels try to find consistency in all aspects of play. While the bats were effective, 70 team hits in the first ten games, the Blue Angels seem to end every inning with multiple runners left on base and few runs to show for it.
In their first ten games in Fort Myers, Fla., MMU went 2-8 with two very sizable wins; An 11-2 win over Rivier and a 9-0 win over Wheelock. But unlike previous seasons, MMU was always one or two key hits away from winning nearly every game.
MMU returned to the Midwest in early March to find Mother Nature delaying multiple doubleheaders. It was not until Mar. 26 when the Blue Angels were able to get in their next games. That is when the Blue Angels defeated Rockford University 12-4 in their first game, then had their second game lead slip away late to split with the Regents (7-31).
The Blue Angels went on to split with Chicago's North Park University (6-34) before hosting their first home series of the season. That is when the Blue Angel bats came alive. MMU scored 30 runs on a combined 30 team hits against their Association of Division III Independents rival Maranatha Baptist University (7-24). MMU defeated their rival 15-7, then 15-1.
The Blue Angels would go on to sweep the Sabercats in the season series 6-0 in 2016-17.
Following the second doubleheader sweep of MBU, the Blue Angels split with another AD3I foe, Finlandia University (25-13). The highly touted Lions caught MMU searching for their offense in the first game, but 16 hits in game two led to nine runs and the series split.
Then the Blue Angels followed that clutch win with a split against North Central College (21-20). The Cardinals may have been shocked at the Blue Angels surge in play, and the Blue Angels were on point as they stranded 11 Cardinal baserunners and held the high-powered offense to just one run. The 2-1 win for MMU ended in dramatic fashion when junior transfer Amelia Flint (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) chipped the ninth inning walk-off single into left field and simultaneously set the new school mark for wins in a season at 10. (Watch the hit here)
Amelia Flint gets the game winner at Neumann Family Softball Field.
Following the split with the Cardinals, MMU shocked the collegiate world when they swept Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference third ranked team Milwaukee School of Engineering (29-14).The Blue Angels dominated their opponents in game one, grabbing the lead in the second inning and never giving it back. Then the Blue Angels had to come-from-behind in the second game. MMU trailed 3-1 heading into the sixth inning, then they batted around the order scoring six times on their way to the 7-3 victory.
MMU followed the impressive underdog win against the Raiders with their final doubleheader sweep of the Maranatha Baptist University Sabercats. The Blue Angels saw Jess Runge (Sr./Freedom, Wis.) in her final home games of her collegiate career. Runge willed MMU to their first win of the day netting three of the five Blue Angel runs in the 5-0 win.
With the second win in the Senior Day doubleheader, the Blue Angels set the new single season wins record at 14.
Following the short lived thrill of the record setting season, Mount Mary Head Softball Coach Tim Edwards decided to resign from his position. The winningest coach in MMU softball history at 35-90. Coach Edwards was named the AD3I Coach of the Year in 2015, and took the Blue Angels to their first ever postseason conference tournament in 2016. The MMU community will deeply miss the hard work and passion coach Edwards displayed in his tenure at Mount Mary.
As there were many impressive talents gracing the Blue Angels roster in 2017, the decision to select the team's yearly awards was exceedingly challenging. Here are this year's winners…
Most Improved Player – Jordan Green (.257 BA, .316 OBP, 4 RBI)
Most Inspirational Player – Hannah Harnsberger (97.2 IP, 6.16 ERA, 32 K)
Most Valuable Player – Katie Arce (.436 BA, .495 OBP, .543 SLG, 18 RBI)
Rookie of the Year – Sidnee Turnage (.416 BA, .464 OBP, .584 SLG, 22 RBI, 4 HR)
Stay tuned to mtmaryathletics.com for updates on Blue Angels Softball and all your favorite teams at MMU.