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Published 3/22/2004
Owens Express Softball Opens Home Season Against Kalamazoo Valley Community College, March 28

Owens Community College women's softball will open its 2004 home season with a doubleheader against Kalamazoo Valley Community College on Sunday, March 28. The first game will start at 1 p.m.

All home games are doubleheaders and played at the College's 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 softball program is guided by first-year Head Coach Duane Lanham of Sylvania. He joins the College with over 19 years of coaching experience at various levels. Since 1997, Lanham has served as the varsity girl's softball coach for Sylvania Southview High School. During his tenure at Sylvania Southview, he amassed an overall record of 125-69. Lanham also has held positions as Sylvania Girl's Fast Pitch Summer Traveling Team coach, Sylvania Southview High School assistant varsity girl's softball coach and as Hawkins Elementary Girl's Softball coach. His Assistant Coach is Joe Boise of Sylvania.

The Express women's softball team this past year completed their best season in program history, finishing with a 41-14 overall record. They also captured their third consecutive OCCAC regular season championship with an 18-2 mark. In addition, Owens was ranked as high as No. 18 nationally in the NJCAA Division II Women's Softball regular season poll.

"I'm looking forward to the women's softball program having a very successful season," Lanham said. "We have great veteran leadership from our returning players, as well as an outstanding and motivated group of first-year players."

The five Express players returning from last year's championship team include OCCAC All- Conference selection Monica Decker of Toledo (Central Catholic High School). In 2003, the sophomore outfielder recorded 43 hits and collected 30 RBIs. She also was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year.

Other returning players include Monica Sims of Millbury, outfielder (Lake High School); Brianne Smith of Temperance, Michigan, third base (Bedford High School); Michelle Brose of Tiffin, catcher (Mohawk High School), and Casey Wieczorek of Toledo, outfielder (Central Catholic High School).

First-year players to the Express women's softball program are Jenae Caldwell of Millbury, second base (Lake High School); Leigh Zajac of Rossford, first base (Rossford High School); Melissa Culp of Toledo, outfielder and second base (Springfield High School); April Nietrzeba of Maumee, pitcher and first base (Maumee High School); Sarah Morgart of Wayne, pitcher (Elmwood High School); Ashley Correll of Fostoria, second base and outfielder (Fostoria High School); Jenny Shultz of Grand Rapids, second base and shortstop (Otsego High School), and Mandy Wingate of Lambertville, Michigan, outfielder and first base (Bedford High School).

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Ohio with 27 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 44,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for Northwest Ohio 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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