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July 1, 2014

Butler center fielder awaits 2015 season

Few freshmen make the immediate impact on their collegiate teams that Brandyce Sallee was able to make on Butler’s softball team. The Cascade alum made the transition, both academically and athletically, very smoothly.

With six-hour per week study tables, the psychology/criminology major did well academically in her first year while taking her introductory courses.

Sallee, an outfielder, was second on the team in hits (45) and started all 52 contests for the Bulldogs, who finished the season 24-28 with a 10-10 Big East Conference mark.

“It was a smooth transition for me,” Sallee said. “I didn’t struggle in the classroom. The biggest difference on the field was the speed of the game and not having a lot of room for error.”

With a spot for the conference tournament on the line in the last week of the season, Butler took on DePaul. The Blue Demons entered the second contest of the three-game set on a 20-game win streak, but Butler was able to hand them their only conference loss of the season.

“It felt really good. They were a great, competitive team and to see them crumble under pressure was awesome,” Sallee said of the Senior Day win. “The next day they came out with a lot of fire and hit the crap out of the ball. We were sad we didn’t win the series, but were glad to take one.”

The loss put Butler into a tie with Creighton for fourth place in the Big East, and since the Blue Jays held the tiebreaker over the Bulldogs, they advanced to the conference tournament.

“A lot of teams were mathematically in (the conference tournament hunt) going into the last weekend,” Sallee said. “The Big East was really even with the exception of DePaul.”

After playing catcher throughout most of her prep career, Sallee converted to the outfield for Butler. The centerfielder recorded a .978 fielding percentage with 86 putouts. It wasn’t too big of a change as Sallee played in the outfield on her travel team.

“The biggest thing was learning specific things the coaches want you to focus on,” Sallee said. “Being in the outfield was a lot of fun and a lot easier on your body as well.”

Offensively, Sallee missed leading the team in hits by one, and that was with a 21 at-bat slump. The freshman tied for lead in home runs (3) and was second in doubles (12), while recording 10 multi-hit games and going .280 at the plate.

Butler was a young team, with 11 underclassmen on a 19-player roster, and Salle said the experience should bode well for the Bulldogs heading into next year.

One of the talented returning freshmen was Greenwood alum Chelsea Norwood, Sallee’s roommate. The two hit it off and found similar qualities that bonded them together.

“We’re a lot alike and Chelsea’s awesome,” Sallee said. “We agree with how softball should be played and with the amount of intensity it should be played. That helped us get along the most.”

Follow Hendricks County Flyer Sports Editor Jake Thompson on Twitter @JacobEThompson.

 

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