You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

UD softball team making strides


Cara LaPlaca knew what she was getting into when she was hired as Dayton women’s softball coach in 2008. The Flyers had plummeted so far in the Atlantic 10 that they couldn’t see the top teams in the conference without a Hubble telescope.

“Our first goals were to change the culture and have a competitive atmosphere here, and we were able to do that. Then it was to plug in some top-level recruits,” she said.

“We went all over the country — and even outside the country with two Canadian kids on our roster — to get the best talent we could find and also the best fit for the University of Dayton, which is really critical. I feel we did that. All our pieces are starting to come together.”

The Flyers qualified for the six-team A-10 tourney in 2011 — their first appearance in the event since 2000 — and are on the cusp of making the field for the second time in three years.

They’re in sixth place at 10-7 in the conference and have four games left, finishing at home with double-headers against second-place George Washington on Saturday and last-place St. Bonaventure on May 4.

The Flyers also have a shot at their first winning season overall since 2005. Although they started the year 0-6 with losses to the likes of Iowa and Oklahoma State, they had a 19-20 record going into Wednesday’s action.

“We knew it was going to be a challenge early on,” said LaPlaca, who met her husband, Michael, at UD and has started a family with two girls under age 3. “We talked to our players about creating steel and building steel and how you have to go through the fire in order to be stronger and better. Our kids have really embraced that metaphor.

“We’ve been able to get the benefits of that early tough competition, and we feel we can compete against anybody.”

Part of that optimism stems from a pitching staff anchored by Kayla English, a sophomore from Grapevine, Texas. She’s the Aroldis Chapman of the A-10, notching more strikeouts (152) than innings pitched (124 1/3). Her whiff ratio of 7.58 over seven innings is the best in program history.

English has been named A-10 pitcher of the week three times this year. And the Flyers have two other starters to complement her in Emily Froment, a Twin Valley South grad, and Alysha Isaacson, a native Californian.

“We have Kayla, who is a strong, physical presence and brings some power to her performance, and the other two are crafty in their locations and their movements,” LaPlaca said.

English led the nation in strikeouts as a senior at Fort Worth Christian. And Flyer assistant Sarah Harman, who has coaching ties in Texas, was able to convince her to check out UD — although getting her to leave her roots in the Lone Star State wasn’t easy.

“At first it was kind of like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to leave.’ But I really thought that going away would help me grow as a person and kind of keep me away from being so set on what my dad thinks or what my mom thinks about me playing,” English said. “It helped me just grow as a person. And I became a better softball player.

“I love it here, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Report: Dayton Flyers hosting recruit from Baltimore
Report: Dayton Flyers hosting recruit from Baltimore

Anthony Grant’s efforts to remake the Dayton Flyers basketball roster on the fly continue. Per national basketball recruiting analyst Julius Kim reported Wednesday morning Grant, UD’s new coach, was hosting Obadiah Toppin for an official visit.  Toppin is a 6-foot-9 senior at Mt. Zion Prep in Baltimore, Md., and one of the best players...
Reds reinstate rookie right-hander from DL to start today’s game
Reds reinstate rookie right-hander from DL to start today’s game

The Reds this morning activated pitcher Rookie Davis from the 10-day disabled list. Davis will start today’s game vs. the Brewers. To make room for Davis, the Reds sent outfielder Phillip Ervin back to Triple-A Louisville. Davis went on the DL April 11 with a bruised right forearm. In two starts this season, the rookie right-hander is 0-0 with...
Former Buckeye: NFL should fire Roger Goodell
Former Buckeye: NFL should fire Roger Goodell

Former Ohio State wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez does not hold NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in high regard.  How do we know that?  The one-time Colts first-round draft pick told the Indianapolis Star he believes Goodell should be fired.  He also took issue with the way Goodell handles discipline.  Gonzalez, who was outspoken...
Sports Today: NFL draft, Anthony Grant speaks, Reds struggles continue
Sports Today: NFL draft, Anthony Grant speaks, Reds struggles continue

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah posted a trio of interesting tweets last night, one of which figures to impact the Cincinnati Bengals.  Defense is a bigger need, but Christian McCaffrey could have a transformative effect on a Bengals offense that might need to be at least a poor man’s Greatest Show on Turf to get the team back to the playoffs...
H.S. Results for 4/25: Munchel’s clutch hit carries Tri-Village

Christian Ricker was outstanding on the mound and Camren Munchel’s RBI hit helped Tri-Village come away with a 1-0 win over Franklin Monroe in baseball action Tuesday. In the bottom of the sixth inning Camren Munchel doubled in Luke Wheeler from second base to plate the lone run. Wheeler went 2-for-2 on the night and Mason Sullenbarger was also...
More Stories