Softball Wraps Up Fall Practice
Oct. 30, 2009
TULSA, Okla. - The Tulsa softball team wrapped up fall practice last week, and the coaching staff appears to have a good handle on the abilities of the team that returns six starters and two pitchers, and welcomed six freshmen to the mix.
Questions still remain, and several positions - on defense and in the batting order - will still have competition for positions once spring practice starts up in January. The final lineups will likely not be hashed out until the season starts in February once head coach John Bargfeldt and his staff determines what will be the best combination of players on the field and in the batting order.
"I think the thing that stood out most in the fall, was that we are going to have a lot of competition at four positions," Bargfeldt said. "The newcomers that have come in, really showed some signs that they are really going to push for a position, that's a good problem to have in that you have a lot of competition for each spot, so everybody is going to come to practice every day and realize that they need to give their best effort on a daily basis."
The Golden Hurricane coaching staff gave the newcomers a lot of reps during the fall games, trying to get a feel for what the young players could do on the field. While it may have appeared the freshmen played more than the veterans, Bargfeldt said the purpose was evaluation.
"One of the things I wanted to do was see the freshmen a lot more," Bargfeldt said. "Sometimes they got a lot more opportunities in games, but that doesn't mean that it's because they were better than the returners. Our returners seemed to have a little bit more sporadic at-bats since we wanted to look at some new players and see what they could do with us. I still feel like the fall is not a really good indicator because you don't face a lot of Division I pitching, so there will be a whole lot more evaluation going into the process of determining who is going to come out in the spring and win a job."
Bargfeldt commended the two returning pitchers - senior Jackie Lawrence and junior Jordan Kinard - for their performances during the fall season. Overall the staff of three finished with a 1.57 ERA with five shutouts, 59 strikeouts and allowed 25 hits, 13 runs and 23 walks in eight games and 53.2 innings. Lawrence pitched 22.0 innings, had a 0.32 ERA with 13 strikeouts and eight walks, allowing two runs and 10 hits. Kinard pitched 21.2 innings and struck out 31 batters, walked nine, and allowed two runs on seven hits. Freshman Kalynn Schrock pitched 10.0 innings, struck out 15, walked six and allowed nine runs and eight hits.
"They showed that they once again have the ability to be very difficult to hit," Bargfeldt said of the returning pitchers. "They have the ability to keep us in ballgames if our offense tends to be taking a little time to get to their pitcher. They hold us in the game. They had some dominating performances in the fall, and that was good to see. That's what we felt would be a strength to our team - two returning pitchers that carried the bulk of our pitching load to our most successful season last year."
Senior Lauren Lindsay led Tulsa in hitting during the fall with a .600 batting average (6-for-10), and had five RBI, scored twice and hit a home run. She slugged .900, walked twice and had a .667 on-base percentage. Junior Lauren Menke hit .429, had nine, hits, two doubles and a home run. She drove in six runs, walked five times, and had a .667 slugging percentage and a .538 on-base percentage. Stoelke hit .316, drove in four runs, and sported a .350 on-base percentage. Senior Vanessa Vice carried a .429 on-base percentage through the fall, and had four RBI and scored four runs.
"Lauren Lindsay just took off where she left off and hit the ball really well," said Bargfeldt. "I thought Lauren Menke really showed that she might even take another step from what she did between her freshman and sophomore year, and she could take another step in terms of being a run-producer for us this year. Vanessa Vice was another key hitter for us, as she has been her entire career. Her on-base percentage was way up there. She got hit and walked a lot, and she was starting to really come on towards the end of the fall in terms of being really comfortable at the plate."
The freshman class appears to be very talented and the players will make an immediate impact at several positions on the field. Caitlin Everett led the Golden Hurricane with 10 hits and hit .435 in the eight games, scoring six runs and adding a double and two RBI. She also had a .458 on-base percentage and stole three bases in four attempts. Bowen led the team with four doubles, and she hit .350 and had six RBI. Samantha Cobb hit .292, got seven hits, two RBI and a double and played shortstop in every game.
"Everett stood out in her overall offensive game, and she did a great job in center field for us. Samantha Cobb came in and really answered a question for us at shortstop, defensively, and also for most of the fall, swung the bat really well" Bargfeldt said. "(Shortstop) was a huge question mark for us. Everett's ability to come in and do so well in center allowed us to put our former center fielder in left field, which was another big question mark for us. Jessica (Stoelke) played out there a lot and did really well. A third freshman, Cassidy Bowen, tied for the team lead in RBI. She is making a push for third base, and she came into the fall and really swung the bat well for us."
Tulsa won seven of its eight fall games, including its last three. On Oct. 10, the Golden Hurricane defeated Connors State and Missouri State, and in its final game on Oct. 21, TU beat Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in a rain-shortened five-inning game.
Tulsa defeated Connors State on the strength of a two-hit shutout by Kinard. She struck out 14 batters and walked just one in the game. Menke went 2-for-3 and drove in all three Hurricane runs on a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Bowen also had a pair of hits, and Everett, Vice, Chapman, Stoelke and Leach each got a hit as TU out-hit Connors State, 9-2. Everett stole a base as well.
Lindsay got a pair of hits and drove in three runs, as the Golden Hurricane used a five-run third inning to beat Missouri State, 7-2. Tulsa also scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Lawrence struck out three batters, walked just one, and allowed six hits and one earned run in a complete-game effort. Everett and Timmons each it a pair of singles, and Vice, Menke and Stoelke each had one hit and drove in one run for the Hurricane. Vice's hit was a double.
Lawrence and Kinard combined for a no-hit shutout of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in a rain-shortened five-inning game. The two pitchers struck out seven batters and walked three. TU scored one run in each of the second and third innings. Stoelke drove in a run, Everett got a hit, and Menke stole a base for the Hurricane.
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