USI students turned Otterbelles

Jessica Stallings

Evansville Otters Baseball team will start their season soon and local Otterbelles are getting prepared.

Otterbelles are a promotional dance team for the Otters formed in 2003.

Jordan Haley, captain of the Otterbelles and junior pre-med/biology major, said the Otterbelles do all kinds of things for the team.

“We dance before the game and do promotions in between the innings, performing small games on the field,” Haley said.

Haley said the Otterbelles have about 18 different dances that they memorize and help coordinate games.

“A few of the songs we dance to are ‘Boyfriend’ by Justin Bieber, ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepson, ‘Heatwave,’ ‘Let’s Hear it for the Boys’ and ‘Old Time Rock-n-Roll,’” Haley said. “Some of the games we help with are Sumo Wrestling, Courier and Press, Dizzy Bat and Pluck a Polyp.”

Haley said at the end of the game many of the members stick around to sign autographs.

“My favorite part is being able to be a role model to the kids,” Haley said. “I love to hear the girls say they want to be an Otterbelle when they grow up.”

Haley said the Otterbelles had tryouts in March and they have been preparing for the first game.

“We have been practicing two days a week since the first week of April,” Haley said.

Hollie Zieles, first-time Otterbelle and junior social work major, said the team has had about six practices so far this season.

“I’m really excited to interact with the fans and work promotions for the team,” Zieles said.

Zieles said the position of an Otterbelle came to her through a good friend who was already on the team.

“She said it was a fun and great experience to have over the summer months,” Zieles said.

Zieles said she is all about the learning a new dance routine.

“My favorite thing about being an Otterbelle so far is the dancing,” Zieles said. “The dances are so cute and fun to do.”

Joel Padfield, general manager for the Otters, said the Otterbelles bring a lot to the team.

“They keep the fans engaged through entertainment so there is never a dull moment,” Padfield said.

Padfield said the game wouldn’t be the same without the Otterbelles.

“My favorite thing about the Otterbelles is just the promotions that they do between the innings,” Padfield said. “They bring a positive attitude and simply just make sure everyone is having a good time.”

Padfield said the upcoming season is just around the corner.

“The Otters have an exhibition game on May 10, benefiting Jacob’s Village,” Padfield said.

Opening day for the Otters is May 17. Tickets and schedules of the games can be found at evansvilleotters.com.