Waterloo's Bushong signs with Blue Storm

News-Democrat BELLEVILLE -- Looking to add another quality starter to its pitching staff, Southwestern Illinois College softball coach Kathy Bernal announced Thursday that Waterloo's Bridget Bushong has signed to play for the Blue Storm in the 2014 seasonJune 13, 2013 

The Bulldogs No. 2 starter, Bushong finished 4-6 with a 4.71 ERA this spring.

"We have two pitchers coming back next year and with the addition of Bridget, we're still looking for one more,'' Bernal said. "Bridget doesn't throw real hard, but she has the ability to move the ball around and keep it low in the strike zone.

"We've got a lot of girls coming back and so defensively we should be pretty good. We just need her to throw strikes and let the defense make the plays.''

Bushong is one of eight players -- including two others from Waterloo -- who have signed with SWIC.

Also signing from Waterloo were Taylor Krekorian and Haley Schlecht. An outfielder, Schlecht hit .348 with a home run and 18 RBIs for the Bulldogs, while Krekorian hit .220 with four RBIs.

Krekorian can play several positions.

Former Marion High School standout Taylor Booten, who attended Morthland College in West Frankfort a year ago, is a first baseman-designated hitter with good offensive skills.

Booten batted over .400 during her senior season at Marion.

Bernal also signed Lauren Horrell (Red Bud), Claire Buechele (Lebanon), Brittany Rakers (Wesclin) and Katelyn Sullens (Highland). All four are versatile players who can play several positions.

Horrell batted .400 with 17 RBIs for the Musketeers, while Rakers hit .324 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.

Sullens batted .216 with 16 RBIs for Highland this spring.

"This is a good group of payers we're bringing in. I like the fact that several of them can play several different places which gives us options if someone goes down to an injury,'' Bernal said. "I think they'll add to the depth and quality of our softball team.''

SWIC went 15-27 during the 2013 season, losing in the second round of the NJCAA Region 24 playoffs.

Bernal said that while several sophomores will return next season, every position will be up for grabs when practice begins in late August.

"With added depth comes more competition,'' Bernal said. "We're going to have a lot of good softball players competing for starting positions.

"We have a lot of players coming back, but when practice begins every position is open. Just because you started last year doesn't mean you'll be starter this year.''

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