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Joined: 2/4/18 Posts: 88
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Softball season preview

Softball season starts next Friday in Charlotte, NC. The early non-con schedule is soft so we should be able get through it with a winning record. App State improved last year so who knows how good they'll be this year but other than a few respectable mid-majors we play mostly schools who only have softball because they need to check the Title IX compliance box.

Our ACC schedule starts at Clemson which I think is great because we get to break in another new stadium before ours and it will be the only ACC team we play with less experience then us. From what little I hear about Clemson they are not talent rich this year. JMU opens Palmer Park followed by ACC foe VT. While VT is certainly better than we are they lost their #1 workhorse pitcher to OK St via transfer which will put a lot of pressure on their other primary pitcher because they don't have any pitching depth. Overall, the ACC schedule this year isn't as tough as last years although we do get FSU again but even they don't seem quite as strong as they were last year.

From what I saw in fall ball I think we'll be better defensively, particularly OF and MIF. Covington has always been solid defensively in CF but it seemed to me we had others playing out of position who were in the lineup for their bats. Winscot and Avila are more natural outfielders with more range. I think Goldberg will be the biggest impact addition both for her glove and bat and will alternate SS/2B effectively with Richie. The 1B/3B corners of Smith/Busby last year are going to be hard to replace but I think their offense will be harder to replace than their defense.

The biggest question marks and the most critical for improvement are hitting and pitching and they're both just as important. Two years ago Smith was a middling .238 hitter (.213 ACC) and had a monster .414 (.400 ACC) year with school HR record to top it all off so anybody here can do it. The lineup I'm sure is up for grabs based on who hits against the mostly weaker pitchers we see early but from what I saw last fall I think Winscott will lead off (looked like she worked hard in the offseason on her hitting) and Goldberg will be somewhere in the 3-4 power hitter spot.

On the pitching side, considering that a year ago at this time Frei was the undisputed #1 pitcher and everyone else was just hoping to get to pitch a few innings, for FY Rayle to come in and get a team leading 10 wins (5 ACC) and take over as the #1 is impressive. Having her back with last year's experience under her belt can only help a very young, inexperienced staff. The only other pitcher with any college experience at all other than Clare is Wilkinson, the grad transfer from Princeton. Having Clare back certainly helps and hopefully she gets some quality innings in early season play since she didn't pitch last fall.

Overall, I think the excitement of a beautiful new facility and a soft non-con schedule will result in a wining season this year but our RPI won't help us get into the NCAA tourney. On the ACC side, over .500 would exceed expectations but at least a 10-14+ record is possible.

Posted: 02/02/2020 at 2:09PM


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Current Thread:
Softball season preview -- UVA_SBDad 02/02/2020 2:09PM
  Thanks for the write-up -- VT_AD 02/03/2020 09:18AM
  Pitching -- UVA_SBDad 02/05/2020 08:53AM
  RE: high school pitching -- VT_AD 02/05/2020 09:18AM

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