Bremen first baseman Erin Schaffrath is excited about the personality.
“This year we’re a lot more of a team,” she said. “We work together a lot more and pick each other up.”
They swing the bats pretty well, too.
The Braves found a silver lining in Friday’s season opening 6-1 loss to Streator at the Rosemont Dome in the form of eight hits.
Three were courtesy of Schaffrath, while Emily Gerhardt and Bridget Hayes had two each.
Lindsey Dudek also flashed a golden glove in center field, making seven catches in seven opportunities with the indoor dome backdrop.
All in all, satisfying.
“It feels good to actually know how we’re going,” Dudek said. “In the gym its like, ‘OK, she’s good.’ But it all comes together when we play.
“We’re going to surprise a lot of people this year. A lot of people usually tend to look down on Bremen. We’re going to surprise them.”
Streator (1-0) matched Bremen in the hit department, but delivered with runners in scoring position much more often.
The Bulldogs scored one run in the first inning, three in the second and one each in the third and fourth against Braves pitcher Kayla Burns.
Maggie McGurk had one of the key blows, a two-run double in the second. Shania Phillips reached all four times for Streator.
Burns finished strong, blanking the Bulldogs in their final two at-bats, and totaled six strikeouts.
Bremen ran itself out of two scoring opportunities, but cracked through in the third when Schaffrath singled, stole second and scored when Monica Krumrie’s sharp grounder eluded Streator third basemen Mikayla Greenwood.
“A little mixed [results],” Bremen coach Renee Rybak said. “You always want to win, but at the same time we saw some things go well, and we got to play a little bit. Now I have to kind of put things together, figure out the puzzle pieces.”
Rybak, a 2004 Bremen graduate, was making her coaching debut.
“It felt good,” Rybak said. “I have a couple of other alumni [Michelle Luby and Jen Rollings] on my staff, so it’s nice to see us help [the current players] experience the same kind of things we experienced.”