With seven games remaining until the NSIC tournament, the St. Cloud State Huskies find themselves three games above .500 at 22-19.
The Huskies have been trending up and recently enjoyed their best month of the season. The Huskies won 12 games in March and perhaps the biggest reason for SCSU’s solid play as of late is junior outfielder, Abby Bunnell.
Bunnell is batting .343 for the season but swung the lumber for a .415 average during the month of March. She also led the team in walks, runs and stolen bases during that stretch. For her hard work on and off the field, Bunnell has been named St. Cloud State’s Student Athlete of the Month.
Bunnell is from Maple Grove, Minn. and has been playing the game for most of her life.
“The first time I swung a bat I was probably about four or five,” Bunnell said. “I really was only hitting wiffle balls with a plastic bat, but I really enjoyed trying to hit them onto my neighbors roof.”
Bunnell went on to lead Maple Grove High School to the sectional and conference championships even though in high school she once tripped over her shoelaces while she was in the batter’s box on the very first pitch of the Section Championship game.
“It was called an out,” she said.
Though her batting average has improved each year at SCSU, it what she has done while on the bases that she is the most proud of.
“I love stealing bases,” she said. “It motivates me to get on base so I can try to outrun the catcher’s arm.”
“I am also pretty proud of having two in the park home runs this year, these two home runs are the first ones I’ve ever had that weren’t caused by errors,” she said.
Bunnell successfully stole 12 bases in March and is 22/23 for the season so far. But, for all of the praise on her offensive game, Bunnell said her favorite player is Torii Hunter because of his contributions in the outfield.
“He was such a stud in the outfield, which made me want to make great plays like he did,” she said.
And she already stamped her legacy in the outfield as well. Abby won the team’s Golden Glove Defensive Player of the Year in last season.
What she has accomplished on both ends of the diamond is impressive, which also reflects back in the classroom.
Abby Bunnell is a National Honor Society member and has been an A honor roll student since 2007. She majors in Biomedical Sciences, with a minor in Chemistry and hopes to find a job working with medical devices.
“After SCSU I plan to get my master’s in Applied Clinical Research through the St. Cloud State Master’s Program,” she said.
At any college level athletic program, you must maintain a certain GPA to stay eligible to play. Some student athletes experience issues with or lose eligibility due to the demands of being successful in both arenas.
“One of my best tricks for managing my time is trying to get my homework done early in the week. That allows time for me to focus on game day on the weekends,” she continued. “I think one way for new students athletes to be successful is to take advantage of the classes they take freshman year and try to get good grades in those classes.”
“Those classes are going to be the easiest that you ever take in college so instead of slacking off, it is a good opportunity to help your GPA for the future,” she said.
Even as the individual recognition is growing, Bunnell will almost certainly be one the team’s most esteemed leaders next season, Bunnell said that it is her teammates on which she hopes to leave the biggest impact.
“My goal is to make an impact on my teammates so that when I’m gone they will miss me enough that they will let me stay at their house when I visit for alumni week,” she said.