Throughout preseason training, the Moraine Valley Community College softball team has been meshing and working hard, leading to high hopes for a successful season.

The sophomores took the initiative to welcome the newcomers early on. They’ve worked hard in the gym and had some outdoor practices this winter due to the unseasonably warm temperatures. All of that is building the team up.

“I think we’re going to do well. We’re looking forward to seeing how this team works together on the field because they have a good bond already. It’ll be fun to watch,” said Head Coach Ari Bulthuis, in her fourth season leading the program.

The two sophomore pitchers, Cassidy Ostema (Sandburg) and Ruby Amigon (Oak Lawn), are back after working hard in the offseason. Bulthuis is especially eager to see how much Ostema has improved from last year. Freshman Stephanie Lohman (Lincoln-Way East) is a utility player who has pitched and will be able to step up when needed.

Among the newcomers, Jolene Anderson (Romeoville) has a solid glove in the field. Her aggression and defense at third and catcher will be an asset. She also has a strong bat to help in the middle of the lineup. Emma Hansen (Andrew) is a leftfielder but can be moved to different positions. She’s quick, which will help on defense and offense. Megan McClelland (Andrew) is another quick outfielder with a strong bat in likeness to graduated Cyclone Nicole Wagner. Rachel Minnich (Acellus Academy) is a lefthanded slap hitter with the ability to play infield or outfield.

Before the season begins, Bulthuis has the players write down their personal and team goals. The consensus this season is to win conference. Bulthuis also wants to win regionals and coach a team that meshes well.

“Each year you have to do some things differently and make adjustments. It’s difficult, but each person, including the coaches, learn something every day,” Bulthuis said. “Last year, we came close to advancing in regionals. I want to make it to regionals and move up in playoffs.”

Bulthuis is joined again by assistant coaches Sam Owens and Jen Vanek. The Cyclones open their season at home on Wednesday, March 6, against Joliet Junior College before heading to spring training in South Carolina.

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For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or