Golden Hurricane Softball Ends Fall Season Excited about 2009 Season
Oct. 17, 2008
TULSA, Okla. - Most of John Bargfeldt's focus at the beginning of fall practice was to get his team working to become better than ever, and in the process fill holes in the lineup vacated by last year's departing seniors. By the end of fall practice, what Tulsa's head softball coach found was a dugout so full of talent and ability that he may have trouble finding a place for everyone to fit onto the field.
While the rules of softball allow only 10 players to be in the lineup at any one time, and at most nine on the field at the same time, Bargfeldt may at times wish he could play all 15 of his athletes. He believes the lineup will shake itself out after a couple of weeks of true Division I-level games in the spring, but he acknowledges the fact that having so many players on his team that can make significant contributions, is a good problem to have.
"We found out that we have a number of people that can play and that can compete at this level. So, it makes for some interesting competitions come next spring. What's unique about our conference is that our conference (schedule) starts so early, you basically have four weekends to decide (who's going to be the staring nine)," Bargfeldt said. "My track record has been, during those four weekends, I'm going to give everybody an opportunity, so hopefully people will step up and break through and show that they're the one.
"When we come back in January, we'll do some intrasquad; we'll do some practicing and we'll see who's going to step up," Bargfeldt continued. "In my experiences, sometimes that's completely different from the way it happened in the fall. From there, we kind of determine who is going to get the early playing time. Sometimes, those players take the ball and go with it. Sometimes somebody stumbles and somebody else get a chance and they go."
While Tulsa displayed a large amount of quality and versatile talent all over the diamond, some players certainly stood out on the field and in the box score.
For the fall season, the Golden Hurricane hit .310 as a team, scoring 54 runs in eight games. The team also continued to get on base at its torrid pace from last spring with a .391 on-base percentage during the fall. Lindsay led Tulsa with huge numbers: she hit .480 with 12 hits in 25 at bats, scored six runs, drove in six runs, hits six doubles, slugged for a .720 percentage and carried a .552 OBP.
Also leading the Hurricane at the plate was senior infielder Stephanie Chomicki, who hit .381 with two doubles, six RBI, four walks and five runs scored. Senior utility athlete Brooke Smart hit the Hurricane's only two home runs of the fall and led the squad with seven RBI and hit two doubles, while also scoring seven runs.
The pitching was solid for most of the fall, and led by sophomore Jordan Kinard who gave up only nine hits and one run, which was earned, with 34 strike outs to seven walks against 79 batters in four appearances. Junior Jackie Lawrence threw six times and allowed 16 hits, three runs - all earned - struck out 29 and walked just eight. The senior of the squad, Katie Lee, threw four times and gave up 16 hits with nine earned runs and 24 strikeouts to just three walks. All three pitchers threw a complete game.
On Oct. 4, the Golden Hurricane hosted its "Welcome Back Alumni" Weekend for the first time in several years, and featured a double-header by the current Hurricane players against Rogers State and a game between former players coached by the 2009 squad's seniors. It was the first time under Bargfeldt that the program hosted an alumni game, and the event is something the coaches indicated they would like to continue in the future.
In the double header, TU defeated Rogers State 2-1 and 6-1. The Golden Hurricane managed five hits by five players, and Lawrence threw a complete game, giving up five hits and 12 strikeouts against one walk and the run was earned. In the second game, a 6-1 TU win, Chomicki went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and scored a run, while freshman utility athletes Skylar Swanson also went 2-for-3 with an RBIs and two runs scored and Jessica Stoelke added a hit an two RBIs, provided the bulk of the offense. Lee pitched a complete game, striking out nine, walking one and giving up one earned run.
In its final fall game, Tulsa beat Northeastern Oklahoma College 15-0, as Swanson went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and junior first baseman Vanessa Vice had three hits in four at-bats with two RBIs. Lindsay was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored, and Chomicki was 2-for-4 with two runs scored to lead the Hurricane in its offensive barrage. Kinard allowed two hits, struck out 10 and walked two, while Lawrence allowed only one hit, recorded three K's and three walks to combine for the shutout. Lawrence also had three hits and two runs scored in four at-bats.
Bargfeldt seemed pleased with his team's performance on the most part after fall practice, and liked the progress he has seen among many players since the end of the 2008 season.
"I saw some people that have made great strides, even players that did not get a lot of playing time last year," Bargfeldt said. "I felt like they really showed some improvement, and showed some changes. In the fall, we identified some things that will make our defense really solid up the middle. The utilities that we have with a lot of players, it's going to allow us to do more if we go with the hot hitter a lot of times.
"I feel like defensively, we identified some things that we challenged some players to work on. Some players were put in positions that were new to them and there is some competition at some spots, and we just feel like all of that is helping make our defense better."
Tulsa opens the 2009 season Feb. 6-8 at the 2009 Aggie Classic hosted by Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, with its first game at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 6 against Texas-San Antonio. All Golden Hurricane softball news, results and information is available at www.TulsaHurricane.com.
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