By Ian McAlister, Sports Editor

    UMF’s softball team will be having their first ever fall season in 2012. The UMF softball team is off to a better start than previous years. They have expanded their season by including a fall preseason, which includes player practices and their first ever alumni matchup to be held at Prescott’s softball field.

    Compared to spring practices, the fall season is a lot more relaxed. All the practices are not mandatory, but players are encouraged to go.

   Coach Pratt recruited a few first-years to help with the organization.   “Because of classes, work, and playing other sports in the fall, everyone can’t make it to every practice, but they all do the best they can,” said Pratt. With adding these extra workouts, it helps Pratt analyze what to expect come spring.

    “It gives us a chance to take a look at the freshman in an outdoor setting and not have to make decisions at try outs when we just get to see them inside,” said Pratt. “It gives all the players more practice time and repetition is good in the sport of softball.”

    The softball team was never given the opportunity to have an official fall season with coaches until this year. “It is difficult to do with me coaching two sports. I now have an assistant coach who is willing to coach the team in the fall and he has the time with his job to be able to run a fall season,” said Pratt.

    With Pratt not being able to fulfill all coaching duties due to the field hockey season as her main priority, some of the players are able to step up and take a “leadership” role.

    “Being a captain, it was one of my roles to meet incoming freshmen last spring to answer any questions and go over the expectations for the season. But… It is hard for me to attend many of the practices right now, so the team has been relying on other major leaders like Kaitlyn Bartlet, Amy Jones, and Casey Mull to make sure that freshmen are fully understanding the commitment to the team,” and, “are not only attending but also, enjoying this great opportunity of fall ball!” said senior captain, Lillian Barry

    According to junior outfielder, Devin Fitzgerald, “The NAC is wide open. I think the past two years have shown that any team can beat another team on any given day, it just depends on which team shows up ready to play each day. Softball is such a short season and has many ups and downs. I think an important goal for us to have this year is try to carry the momentum from wins for as long as we can. We can’t let losing affect how we play in games to come because we play so many games in such a short amount of time.”

    The fall season is mainly based on just practices. UMF practices about four times a week depending on the weather.

    With this new addition to the program intact, the Beavers hope to have a better start to this upcoming season.

    The alumni game is scheduled for Saturday, October 6th at 3:30 p.m.