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ETSU Softball kicks off 2009 season Friday afternoon in Charleston
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The Lady Bucs will participate in the
ETSU begins play on Friday afternoon when the Lady Bucs take on James Madison at noon. Following the game with the Dukes, the Lady Bucs will take on Howard at 2 p.m.
On Saturday morning, ETSU returns to the diamond and face the host Cougars at 10 a.m. Once again the Lady Bucs have little turn-around time in the second game, as ETSU squares off with
The Lady Bucs wrap up play on Sunday morning when they tangle with BIG EAST foe
Live stats will be available for all five games. Please click the link above to access live stats.
Below is a preview of the 2009 Lady Buccaneer season.
Coming off a program-best 30-win campaign a year ago, the 2009 East Tennessee State softball team will look to build off that success and claim its first-ever Atlantic Sun Championship in May.
Last season ETSU used the small-ball philosophy to its advantage, as the team set new school records with 95 stolen bases and 61 sacrifice hits, but also the strong arm of Marissa Hardy (
"Last season was bittersweet," commented head coach Andrea Mangrum, who enters her fourth season with the Lady Bucs. "I was proud of the team for all the hard work they put in and to set the single-season wins record was rewarding. However, we feel like there is some unfinished business to take care of this season after falling one game short of the Atlantic Sun Championship game."
The 2009 softball season not only brings new faces and energy to the game, but also a new home for the Lady Bucs. After playing its first eight seasons on city owned fields, ETSU moves into its brand new 500-seat stadium in 2009.
The 11 letterwinners from last year's record-breaking squad and eight new faces Mangrum brought in will all be expected to produce both on the field and in the classroom.
One of those eight new faces includes new assistant Sarah Totten - who will help the Lady Bucs with their hitting and fielding. Two of the Lady Bucs' 11 letterwinners include Katy Jett (
With a lot of talent returning, new energy from the eight newcomers and a place to finally call home, the 2009 Lady Buccaneer softball team looks to reach new heights this spring.
LADY BUCCANEER INFIELD
The ETSU infield features both a lot of experience and talent, while also mixing in some youth as well. At the corners, senior slugger Jessie Hackworth (
"Jessie has adjusted nicely to her new position at first," added Mangrum. "Coach Totten has helped make that move a lot easier for her, and I see Jessie having a breakout year after finishing the season strong in 2008."
Looking to fill Hackworth's gap at third will be freshman Amy Campbell (
Up the middle, junior Cheniece Cason (
"We bring back a lot of experience with our infielders, but we are also relying on some of our freshmen to step in right away and contribute," added Mangrum. "Cheniece worked hard this summer and showed us in the fall that she should be the starting shortstop. Chelsea and Katy will split time at second, but
LADY BUCCANEER OUTFIELD
Once again ETSU's outfield will consist of solid defense and blazing speed. The Lady Bucs return all three starters from last season, with senior Kate Powell (
Jett and McCoy split time in center and right, while Powell started 44 games in left and 15 in center. Jett made 22 starts in center (25 in right), and 26 of McCoy's 55 starts came in center.
McCoy led the club with 21 stolen bases, which ranks third on the ETSU single-season list, and the Ringgold,
Jett, who posted the most multiple hit (19) and RBI (9) games last season, compiled the Lady Bucs' best fielding percentage as well (.990). The junior Preseason All-Conference selection recorded 18 assists and committed only one error in 96 total chances.
Powell, who also takes great pride in her defense, was one of four Lady Buccaneer players to post 10+ stolen bases. The senior stole 13 bases and led the team with 10 sacrifice hits.
Fellow senior Cat Zyskowski (
Joining these returners will be freshman Annie Martin (
"Our outfield play is one of strengths as we head into our season-opener," said Mangrum. "We have a lot depth, experience and speed at all three positions and everyone has been looking strong in preseason workouts."
LADY BUCCANEER PITCHING/CATCHING
With Marissa Hardy (
The addition of pitching coach Ariel Beus paid huge dividends in year one as Hardy broke five ETSU pitching records - including the single-game strikeout mark with 16K's vs. Presbyterian. The reliable right-hander also set new Lady Buccaneer records in wins (19), IP (229.1), appearances (41) and strikeouts (261). Also, as a team, ETSU broke the single-season strikeout record with 353.
"Coach Beus really had a positive influence on our pitchers and catchers last season," added Mangrum. "Once again we expect big things out of Marissa, and Trisha has consistently gotten stronger behind the plate."
Joining Hardy in the rotation will be junior Darci Gilbert (
Both Gilbert and Boyd each made 24 appearances a year ago, but after struggling in the circle as a sophomore, Gilbert has looked a lot stronger during the fall and winter practices. Gilbert, who tied the team lead with 10 wins as a freshman, has been battling Hardy for the top spot in the rotation this season.
With a year under her belt, Boyd looks to build off her 7-win season and give the Lady Bucs some valuable innings as a sophomore. The
"Darci is coming off a strong fall season and that helped build her confidence back up," added Mangrum. "Right now she and Marissa are the only upperclassman and both have been battling neck-and-neck for the number one slot."
"Ashley was injured this fall, but she laid a solid foundation as freshman and we expect her to have a strong sophomore year," said Mangrum.
Shelby Morris was the lone pitcher in this signing class and was a four-year letterwinner in both softball and volleyball at
Joining Massenzo behind the dish will be (Katie) Henderson and freshman Marlina Delisa (
Delisa also had a solid fall and if her bat continues to remain hot, she can spend time either catching or filling the designated player slot. The
"Marlina and Katie are strong players and can help us many ways," commented Mangrum. "Both of them are sound behind the plate and can also help us with their bat. If they are not catching or playing elsewhere, both can be used at the designated player slot."
LADY BUCCANEER SCHEUDLE
Following a season-opening trip to
"Typically we are on the road until mid-March, but with the new stadium we thought it would give us some momentum early on to play a few home games in February," said Mangrum.
At the conclusion of a brief four-game homestand, ETSU hits the road for nearly a three week stretch where they play in two tournaments and a pair of road series in
After a 20-day hiatus from
The schedule does not get any easier for the Lady Bucs as they hit the road for a conference swing, starting at Stetson on March 26. ETSU wraps up the short stint in the
ETSU closes out the month of March with a bang, as 2008 Women's College World Series participant, Virginia Tech, visits
"The home game against Virginia Tech will be our premier game this season," commented Mangrum. "It will be an exciting game for our community to come out and watch in our new stadium. The Hokies were the only collegiate team to beat Team
The Lady Bucs remain out of conference to begin the month of April, as they host former SoCon rival Appalachian State on April 1, and close out the home series against North Carolina Central on April 4.
Following a road trip to Longwood, ETSU returns home for a critical conference battle with Lipscomb (April 10) and
Other notable games include a home match-up versus conference foe
Once again the Atlantic Sun Conference champion will be crowned at Stetson's Patricia Wilson Field. The double-elimination tournament begins on May 7, and the championship game will be played on May 9. The top six teams eligible for postseason play make the trip to
For the second straight season, junior Katy Jett received Preseason All-Conference accolades, while the Lady Bucs were pegged ninth in the coaches' poll. After earning a share of the 2008 regular season title, USC Upstate was voted number one. The Spartans received six first place votes and edged out
Campbell, last season's tournament champion, was picked sixth (64 votes); while Kennesaw State (77 votes), Lipscomb (75 votes) and Mercer (66 votes) are all expected to finish higher. Mercer was the other team to receive a first place selection. Meanwhile, UNF was selected seventh right above the Lady Bucs with 53 votes.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.