Despite graduating an accomplished senior class after its record-breaking 2004 season, the Nebraska Wesleyan softball team had high expectations and hopes. But that success brought a reputation, and their reputation did not allow the Prairie Wolves to sneak up on anyone in 2005.
NWU’s opponents were ready right out of the gate and sent the Prairie Wolves home from their season-opening trip to Texas with a record of 0-8. Though three of those losses were only by a single run, it was a markedly different start compared to Nebraska Wesleyan’s 8-0 trip to the Lone Star State just one year before.
The Prairie Wolves broke into the win column in their first game at home, a 6-5 victory against Dakota Wesleyan University on March 18, however, the competition stiffened once again as NWU dropped their next nine games, including three at the Coe College Tournament on March 26, and dropped to 1-17 overall.
But Nebraska Wesleyan did bounce back and rattled off six wins in a row. The team defeated Colorado College twice on the road on April 9, and after being stranded in Colorado Springs due to a snowstorm, the women kept it going with conference sweeps over Hastings College on April 14 and Mount Marty College on April 16. Senior Erin Amos was named the Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Player of the Week for April 11-17 after hitting .526 on the week.
Doubleheader losses to Morningside College, Dordt College and the University of Sioux Falls soon erased NWU’s momentum. The losing streak was halted there when Nebraska Wesleyan picked up a come-from-behind victory at Briar Cliff University on April 23. Lindsay Bailey blasted a three-run homer in the top of the seventh. Amos and Vicki Ortmeier also drove in runs to cap the five-run rally.
NWU went on to split with the Chargers and did the same at Doane College on April 25 and on senior day with Dana College on April 27. Midland Lutheran College swept the Prairie Wolves in their last twin bill of the season, leaving Nebraska Wesleyan’s final record at 10-28 overall (8-16 GPAC).
Despite the team’s lack of victories on the field, several postseason awards came NWU’s way at the end of the year. The Association of Division III Independents (AD3I) honored Ortmeier by naming her to the All-Independent Second Team as a utility player. In addition, catcher Mollie Seim was named to the All-GPAC Second Team, and senior Erin Placke received All-GPAC Honorable Mention.
The Prairie Wolves also received a pair of academic awards. Amos was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VII College Division Softball Second Team, as selected by CoSIDA, and sophomore Kaley David was recognized by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as a Scholar Athlete for 2005.