Softball: BP’s Swenson is hoping to finish strongPublished 6:37pm Sunday, March 31, 2013
BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Blooming Prairie senior pitcher will have a new catcher this season, her team is replacing a few starters, and the Awesome Blossoms are trying to get back to their fourth straight Class ‘A’ state softball tournament after they lost the title game 2-1 to Cherry last spring.
Still, Swenson doesn’t feel too much pressure and she’s definitely worried about too much right now.
That’s because her new catcher happens to be her long time friend and fellow senior Sam Ivers and Swenson has faith in BP’s younger players that are coming up.
“Sam and I have been best friends since second grade. I’m looking forward to it because we have a connection outside of softball,” Swenson said. “Our younger kids always come through and we’ve had younger kids step up already. I know they’ll do that and I’m not worried.”
Swenson earned all-state honors as a junior as she broke BP’s school record for strikeouts (235) and wins (22) in a season. She maintained an ERA of 0.993 and she also hit .386 with 4 homers, 7 doubles and 23 RBIs at the plate.
“Every year it’s important that we have a pitcher that’s strong,” BP head coach Ali Mach said. “Shelbi had a great junior season and I expect her to be as good, if not better this year. We’re definitely gonna rely on her early. She’s been playing all year long and she’s ready to go.”
Ivers, who hit .319 last season as an outfielder, is looking forward to getting back to catching. She had been a catcher in JV, but she was moved into the outfield at the varsity level.
“It’s different,” Ivers said. “When I first went from catcher to outfield, it was hard to stay on track because I needed something to pay attention to. I like being apart of every play.”
Ivers also looks forward to catching for Swenson as the two grew up playing catch together quite often.
Swenson still looks back to BP’s second place finish at state last season, but she’s not going to let the final loss get to her. Instead, she’s been focusing on the positive moments of last season.
“It’s always gonna be in my memory,” Swenson said. “I look at it as I’ve had such a good softball career thus far and I just want to have fun in my senior year and make it last.”
Swenson already has her softball future locked up as she’s committed to play at Division III Bethel University next season.
At Bethel, Swenson will play in the same conference as former BP hurler Erica Manske, who is 2-0 overall with a 4.55 ERA this season for Luther.
It’s likely the two will pitch against each other at some point.
“I’m really excited,” Swenson said. “It’ll be fun (to pitch against Erica).”
Right now Swenson is still focused on enjoying her last season with BP.
The Blossoms are scheduled to open their season at Medford April 8 at 5 p.m., but that may be subject to change due to weather.