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Published 3/28/03
Owens Express Softball Opens Home Conference Schedule Against Lakeland Community College, April 2

Owens Community College women's softball will open its 2003 home conference season with a doubleheader against Lakeland Community College on Wednesday, April 2. The first game will start at 3:30 p.m.

All home games are doubleheaders and played at the College's Baseball/Softball Complex on the Toledo-area Campus. Owens is located on Oregon Road, four miles from Downtown Toledo. Admission to all home games is free.

The Owens women's softball program is led by fifth-year Head Coach Mickey Arquette of Toledo. In her previous four seasons, Arquette has guided the Express to two Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) titles. She also was twice recognized as the league's Co- and Coach of the Year, respectively. Her Assistant Coach is former Owens softball player (2001-2002) Emily Drain of Toledo.

The 2002 edition of the Owens Express softball team experienced its best season in the history of the program, finishing with a 36-9 overall record. Ten softball records fell en route to the team capturing the OCCAC championship with an 18-2 mark. Owens also was ranked as high as No. 4 in the NJCAA Women's Softball Division II poll.

Following early season action, which saw Owens play against teams in Florida and four non-conference games, the Express have an overall record of 4-6. This past week, Arquette's squad recorded wins over Bowling Green State University (B Team) 9-3 and 4-1.

"I'm really looking forward to another great season," Arquette said. "We have three very talented and experienced players returning from last year's championship squad."

Arquette added, "With the addition of these 11 incoming first-year student-athletes, I anticipate our softball program having another successful year."

The three Express players returning from last year's team include OCCAC First Team All-Conference selection Kristina Shultz of Grand Rapids (Otsego High School). In 2002, the sophomore pitcher/shortstop recorded 40 runs and was second on the team with 50 hits, while compiling a .424 batting average. She also set the team record with 15 stolen bases in a season.

Returning players also include Michelle Saunders of Elmore (Cardinal Stritch High School) and Kristi Hehl of Monroe, Michigan (Monroe High School). Saunders, a sophomore first baseman, in 2002 played in 36 games and recorded 17 hits and 16 RBIs. A sophomore pitcher, Hehl played in 27 games and compiled a 4-2 record with an earned run average of 5.20.

First-year players to the Express women's softball program are Monica Sims of Millbury, outfield (Lake High School); Brianne Smith of Temperance, Michigan, third base (Bedford High School); Michelle Brose of Tiffin, catcher (Mohawk High School); Heather Veith of Delta, second base (Wauseon High School); Casey Wieczorek of Toledo, outfield (Toledo Central Catholic High School); Tiffany Brandeberry of Delta, catcher (Evergreen High School); Monica Decker of Oregon, outfield (Toledo Central Catholic High School); Kylie Panza of Newport, Michigan, outfield (Monroe Jefferson High School); Paige McCullough of Ida, Michigan, first base (Dundee High School); Melissa Gill of Swanton, pitcher (Swanton High School), and Nickie Fair of Stony Ridge, outfield (Eastwood High School).

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Northwest Ohio with 24 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 38,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor 's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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