posted on February 12, 2010 15:20
The University of Mobile softball team will open the 2010 season Feb. 14 at Thomas University in a 12 pm double header. The Lady Rams will be looking to bounce back from missing the NAIA National Tournament for the first time since 1994, despite going 32-12 on the season and finishing the season ranked No. 17 in the final NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll.
"I believe we are in a better position than last year and I expect us to compete every single pitch. I expect them to become a unit, to move together and not as 17 individuals," Head Coach Terri McCormick said. "We want to win the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference again, and put ourselves back in national title contention at the National Tournament after an unfortunate and disappointing season last year."
Six players return that saw significant action in 2009, including three All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference selections (Ally Scott, Kirstyn Joiner and Leslie Pickette). Pickette was named GCAC Pitcher of the Year and Honorable Mention NAIA All-American after going 22-3 with a 1.58 ERA in her first season at Mobile.
Joiner, Scott, Desiree Truett, Holli McLeod and Tess Ackerman will be looked upon to lead an offense that losses two-time NAIA All-American Jineth Pimentel. Joiner batted .374 with 20 RBI and a .438 OBP and Scott led the team with 34 RBI, while hitting .368. Ackerman, a sophomore outfielder, saw action in 36 games and hit .325 with a .506 slugging percentage, while Truett, one of two seniors on the roster, started every game at first base and hit .298. McLeod started every game in the outfield and tied for 2nd on the team with 4 homers.
Several newcomers will join the retuners to make the Lady Rams a very deep team. Erica Bracey will split time with Truett at 1st base and see at-bats as the designated hitter, Nicole Walker will split time with Joiner behind the plate, Hannah Harrell will take over at short, and Jessica Swanson will handle the hot corner. Jessica Palmer and Elena Litvina will share 2nd base duties, while Dorlicia Martin and Korie Fontenot while join the outfield mix.
The pitching staff should also receive some help, after Pickette logged over half of the team's innings pitched in 2009 and 22 of the 32 victories. Enterprise product Kamaron Strickland is returning from a redshirt year in 2009, Christie Soulis is transferring in from Lurleen B. Wallace and Victoria Buie is transferring in from Wallace Community College. Soulis prepped at Theodore HS and led LBW with 63 strikeouts in 59.1 innings of work in 2009. Buie went 7-2 with 73 strikeouts in 66 innings of work for Wallace State-Dothan in 2009.
"Having four healthy pitchers and depth at virtually every position is a big strength. Also, everyone on the team has competed in a championship event at some level and that big game experience brings a lot to the team. Another strength is chemistry. They get along like any team I've seen before. There is more comradery and interpersonal chemistry, they have come together better than any team I've ever seen."
Mobile's schedule features 24 home games and a couple of key tournaments. Mar. 5-7, the Lady Rams will host the University of Mobile Classic, which will feature 17 games in three days. Mar. 12-14, Mobile will host the Gulf Coast Invitational in Orange Beach, AL which will feature 27 of the nation's top NAIA teams.