BILLINGS — The Hardin softball team has already exceeded expectations in Demi Uffelman’s eyes, so this season has been gravy for the senior pitcher/outfielder. And she has poured it on.
Uffelman has led the Bulldogs to a near-perfect start to this season (11-1 overall, 6-0 in conference). She already has concrete plans for her life after high school, but she’s still focused on helping her team reach heights it’s never seen before.
“I never thought we’d ever get to this point,” Uffelman told 406mtsports.com. “We’re taking it game by game, but at the same time, we’re dreaming.”
In December, Uffelman signed with North Dakota State College of Science. She plans to pitch for the Wildcats, although she might see some action in the field, too, she said. Her performance this season has only increased the indecision.
Through last week, Uffelman had pitched 69 innings, boasted a 2.64 ERA, allowed 45 hits, issued 14 walks and struck out 100 batters. In 45 plate appearances, she had compiled 20 hits, including three home runs and nine doubles. Her batting average was .476, her on-base percentage was .511 and her slugging percentage was .905.
Uffelman threw her first career no-hitter in Tuesday’s 12-0 win over Colstrip, according to Hardin coach Sarah Passes. Uffelman also hit a two-run homer in the game.
Last year, Hardin reached its first state tournament since 2011 and finished the season 11-10-2. The Bulldogs went 2-17 the year before, and Uffelman, who also plays volleyball, said the softball team won about two games her freshman season.
“When we won to go to state, I was almost in tears,” she said. “My first state tournament was in softball, and I would never, ever dream of that in a million years.”
That dream is now an expectation, and the Bulldogs hope to improve on their performance at last season’s state tournament, where they lost to Libby 9-0 in the first round and saw their season end in a 22-0 loss to Frenchtown.
Uffelman plans to study land surveying and civil engineering technology at NDSCS. Her father’s former wrestling coach is a land surveyor, and her grandfather introduced her to the trade, she said. Math is also her favorite subject.
“I’m a social person, but I’m not at the same time,” she said. “I would rather work by myself, do my own thing, and I think that job offers me that and the math I enjoy.”
After two years at NDSCS, Uffelman hopes to continue her softball career at North Dakota State. She could also continue her professional pursuit at NDSU, which offers civil engineering.
“That would be the dream,” she said.