Softball senior reflects on first part of season

LEADER UND prepares for last games before spring season begins in February.

Senior Caralyn Chewning swings the bat at Apollo Field. Chewning and the team have played multiple games in preparation for the spring season, but the non-championship segment will end this weekend. File photo.

Caralyn Chewning has been playing softball for more than 15 years.

“I started playing fastpitch when I was six,” she said. “I did little league for one year. My older sister was playing ASA, so my dad just put me in there.”

Chewning’s hometown of Willamina, Ore., is no quick drive from Grand Forks, but several high school athletic accomplishments earned her a softball scholarship at UND, where she is in her fourth year.

Chewning was named Oregon Class 3A pitcher of the year and co-pitcher of the year during the 2008-09 season, was named to the all-state team four times (2007-10) and finished runnerup in the 3A Oregon State Tournament
in 2009.

“I really like the campus here… I got a scholarship, and the nursing program … that’s really what I want to do,” Chewning said. “They have a really good program here.”

Over the course of her four years here, Chewning has added to her list of athletic feats. She has been named the Great West Conference Softball Player of the Week multiple times and has been named to the All-Great West Second Team three years in a row.

Chewning started in every game her freshman year, and started in 46 out of 47 games her sophomore year. In that same year, she tied for the team lead in at-bats with 161 and hits with 59. She also led the team with 36 runs and wassecond in RBI with 25.

“(My time at UND) has been really great, and I’m glad I came here,” Chewning said. “There are no regrets at all. All the girls I’ve played with will be my friends forever.”


Although the spring season is months away, Chewning is optimistic about what the team has already accomplished.

“This season is going good so far.” Chewning said. “It’s fall ball, so we are still working out the kinks … communication and just kind of everybody getting to the place where they are going to play for the season. We have a lot of new good talent and some returning talent, too.”

As far as UND’s upcoming games this weekend at Valley City State University, the softball senior recalls recent talks in the huddle.

“When we get the opportunities to make it count, we haven’t been executing as well as we need to,” Chewning said. “Execute and make every moment count. Don’t go off the field with any regrets, just leave it all on the field.”

The North Dakota ladies have a break after their gamethis weekend, which will help them stay focused throughout the year.

“We only play eight games in the fall, and in spring we havearound 52 games,” Chewning said. “It is a long season. When we get into the winter, we get a little rest.”

After almost four years of college softball and many years back in Oregon, Chewning still loves the game. This is her last season, but she says it hasn’t sunk in.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” Chewning said. “I’ll be a student coach next year and will still be taking classes. It’ll probably hit me within the mid (spring) season. I’m going to miss the girls for sure, and the competition. I’ve loved this game since I started playing. It’ll be bittersweet when it’s over.”

With Chewning’s many years of experience comes a lot of knowledge about the game.

“I feel like a leader,” Chewning said. “I’m not really a vocal leader… I think it’s more what I do. They look up to me.”

Post-college life is still distant in Chewning’s mind, but she has a few goals in place.

“I know I want to be a nurse, so I’m going to stay in school until I get my nursing degree,” Chewning said. “I’d like to go back close to my family, because I have two little nieces back there. I’d really like to be a pediatric nurse and work with little kids.”

Chewning will take the field Saturday afternoon when North Dakota will take on Valley City State in Valley City, N.D.

Marie Monson is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at