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slot canyon

Softball Infield Positions to Fill

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slot canyon    20

Seems we are pretty solid at catcher, pitchers, 3rd base,right and center field.  I look for maybe Bree Fornis to get a look in the outfield.  I suppose a big question is at SS.  It is a position that sees a lot of action and I really respect the way Whitney Jordan stepped in when the two starters went down with injuries.  She had a fielding % .934 with 17 errors and hit .228 with 7 HR.  She does have some power and looks to have pretty good speed.  She had been expected to play outfield before the injury bug bit our SS position.  Even though she had more errors than we would like, she also made some "highlight" worthy plays during the season.  The previous year the position was played by Haley Fagan who hit .343 with 13 HR and a FP of .951.  She has stated that she intends to be the SS this next season.  Casey McCrackin, a freshman last year saw some time at the position.  Something to watch could be transfer Tannon Snow who has played infield and was highly recruited out of HS.  Second base could end up with Jordan moving over, Snow stepping in or someone who has been in the shadows stepping up big.  At first base I will really miss Rhodes.  Abbott has some experience there and the freshman Justus Perry has some buz. We seem set at catcher with Carlee "the rock" Wallace and very reliable Courtney Shea.  I noticed the freshman Gutierrez is listed as a catcher (I believe she played 3rd and catcher in HS) and they may be setting her up to assume that position when our two juniors depart after their senior years.   At the post world series press conference I believe coach mentioned that his 2011 Arizona State team did not have an error in any of their regional or world series games and I suspect this will be a point of emphasis.  I believe we will have less power in terms of the long ball but more overall team speed.  I am just a recent arriving fan of the game and not any type of expert but these are some of my thoughts.  Watching the positions get filled this year should be interesting. 

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WarTiger    997

It will definitely be interesting to see how the infield comes together.   I also expect Bree Fornis to end up in the outfield, likely in left.   Gipson did a solid job in right and I would expect her to remain there.     1st base, I highly expect Justus Perry to come in a start there from day 1.  She has great power.   IF Haley Fagan can move laterally well enough I expect her to return to shortstop.  She brings more power than Whitney Jordan does and more consistent bat overall.  2nd base is wide open, IMO.   I could see someone like Tannon Snow moving into that spot, leaving Whitney Jordan on the outside looking in.   Jordan has to be more consistent at the plate to keep that position at short.  Her play at short was quite good all season.    I think the designated player role could be filled with Jenna Abbott of course or its very possible that Ashlee Swindle take that role quite often.  Swindle has a great bat and good power as well.  The competition in the infield should be fun to watch in fall ball.  We have LOTS of talent coming in and returning too.    Ready for fall ball. 

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ellitor    4,496

I don't see short being a question mark as long as Haley moves well. She will lock that down. I think that moves Jordan back to her original position of RF & Madi over to left. I think Tannon comes in & wins 2B. At 1st my guess is Perry or Shea. Shea did play some 1B in high school.

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slot canyon    20

It would be great if Fagan could return at SS in pre-injury form and maybe have McCrackin or Jordan as quality backup.  Second base should be interesting.  Also curious as to who the staff begins to groom to take over at 3rd when Cooper departs after this year.  Like  WarTiger, I am curious to see if Swindle gets inserted maybe as DP for her hitting skills.   Noticed that Alexa Nemeth from Auburn now appears on the roster as LHP.  She may be a "special situation" option.  Fall ball should provide some insight into these issues.  Appears that coach has been able to progressively upgrade the talent level. 

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ellitor    4,496
1 hour ago, slot canyon said:

It would be great if Fagan could return at SS in pre-injury form and maybe have McCrackin or Jordan as quality backup.  Second base should be interesting.  Also curious as to who the staff begins to groom to take over at 3rd when Cooper departs after this year.  Like  WarTiger, I am curious to see if Swindle gets inserted maybe as DP for her hitting skills.   Noticed that Alexa Nemeth from Auburn now appears on the roster as LHP.  She may be a "special situation" option.  Fall ball should provide some insight into these issues.  Appears that coach has been able to progressively upgrade the talent level. 

Tannon played mostly 3rd base for UW her freshman year so my guess is she would move over to 3rd after Casey leaves even if she plays 2nd this year. Taylon plays short for her travel & high school teams but says she can play 2nd just as easy. I've kind of thought for a while the left side of the infield would be covered in Snow. If that is the case 2nd base would be the position needed filling after Casey leaves.

Swindle had as good if not a better bat than Perry in high school. If she continues to hit well I hope she is the DP when she is not pitching.

Coach has progressively upgraded the talent on paper at least. His 1st 4 classes are ranked 12th, 7th, 6th, & 2nd nationally.

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AU64    1,711

Basically unrelated to this OP but I noticed Carosone playing last night at 2nd base for Chicago in a professional softball game....watched a few minutes and she made a couple slick plays....like her AU days.  

Someone will have to work hard to make us forget Emily.

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ellitor    4,496
21 minutes ago, AU64 said:

Basically unrelated to this OP but I noticed Carosone playing last night at 2nd base for Chicago in a professional softball game....watched a few minutes and she made a couple slick plays....like her AU days.  

Someone will have to work hard to make us forget Emily.

She was the heart of the team the past few years. No ardent AU softball fan will forget her.

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autigeremt    546

I will never forget Emily. Love that Auburn Warrior. Will miss her smile and hard charging play at AU.

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slot canyon    20

My wife and I drove down to the open practice yesterday and if you have not attended one you may find it interesting; we did.  Just a couple of observations....I don't know if 1st base is settled but I thought Snow was ahead in handling the position.  During the batting practice session she blasted (and I mean blasted) a bunch of balls over the fence. Jenna Abbott also comes to mind as knocking a lot of balls out of the park.   Justus Perry also hit a bunch over the fence but seems less sure of herself at the 1st base position at this point.  I still do not have a sense of who may end up at second base.  Kaitlyn Crocker's stature and build remind me a lot of Emily.  She also appears to be very fast.  She had some bright spots but then seemed to have a spell where she mishandled several balls.  McCrackin may have a slight edge there currently.  In the batting drills, although 5' 9" , she has what I would call a petite build compared to a lot of the other gals.  However, when she gets her swings down she can really hit some long shots also.  Cooper saw limited action in some of the fielding drills and I do not recall her participating in batting drills that I saw.  Regarding the practice, once they got into the "situational drills" it very fast paced.  A lot of moving parts.  If coach called out "less than 2 strikes runner on 1st" they would have runners on the other bases getting practice base running and not just sitting around watching.  I know that part of practice went on for over an hour.  I would guess the actual games would seem slow compared to these "situational drills".  I could hear some of the post practice talk delivered by Corey Myers.  He was very blunt that if some of the gals did not pick up their level of play they would be staying with him in the dugout during the games and stay at home during road games.  No "safe zones" at the AU softball field.....if you are worried about getting your feelings hurt you may want to stay at home.  There also appeared to be some "tough love" going on so it likely balances out.  My wife and I had debated the logic of a 4+ hour round trip drive to watch a 3 hour softball practice but in the end we found that we both enjoyed it and have a feel of what goes on at the practice.  We look forward to attending the games this weekend.

 

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I_M4_AU    412

Slot, I think I'll put your name in for the "Softball fan of the month" award.  Great insights about the coaching philosophy.

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OlderWhiskey    93

Mrs. Canyon needs to be co-recipient of that award.  I also appreciate Slot's comments about practice.  I look forward to seeing the Tigers live in March, when they play UT in Columbia.

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slot canyon    20

Appreciate the kind comments about my wife.  If she allows me to hang around another 2 months we will celebrate our 44th anniversary.  We went down to the games yesterday.  It was kind of a blur but some of the things that stuck with me ......We had a big lead going into the final inning or so in the Northwest Florida State game but ended up winning by only a couple of runs I believe.  Got the impression the coach wanted to put a "strain" on some of the new players to see how they would react.  I believe it was during the last inning of that game Snow (at 3rd) and McCracken (at SS) collided going after a ground ball hit between them.  Both were on the ground for about 3 minutes and then were assisted off the field by the training staff.  McCracken played in game 2 but Snow did not and I do not recall seeing her in the dugout.  Also, Fagan did not play and I did not see her.  Cooper did not play but was there and at times served as 1st base coach as did Draper and Gipson.  Wallace had a good day at the plate as did Kaitlyn Crocker.  She seems to be what I would call a "power slapper" batting style with a short run toward the pitch but hits a lot of line drive type shots through the infield.  Seems Tiffany used to hit a lot of balls hard into the ground that would bounce up high enough and allow her to beat the throw to first base.  Crocker also did a really nice bunt.  She has a lot of speed.  With the absence of Snow in game two, time at 1st base was divided between Perry and Abbott.  I thought Perry looked more comfortable and confident than she had in the past.  I sat next to the grandmother of one of our players and had some interesting conversations.  At one point I mentioned a few players that might be redshirts because they were just not getting the playing time currently.  She mentioned that when they begin selecting the players who make the travel team for away games the reality of the situation will really begin to set in for some of the players. 

OlderWhiskey, we may have to talk later.......I am considering driving up for the Tennessee and Middle Tennessee games.  Don't know if tickets can be purchased in advance. 

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ellitor    4,496

Any  word on Draper? My dad told me he read an ITAT article a couple weeks ago that said she was hurt.

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WarTiger    997
5 minutes ago, ellitor said:

Any  word on Draper? My dad told me he read an ITAT article a couple weeks ago that said she was hurt.

She had knee surgery in the off season.   My understanding is Madi Gipson had knee surgery as well.

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slot canyon    20

Info per a family member of a player is that Draper should be good to go next season.  The repair was an injury that she played with during last season.  She is at the games with what appears to be some sort of compression brace on her leg.  No Crutches.  Same source regarding Gipson states toe surgery.  I see her at the games and she appears totally normal walking around with no medical hardware.

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tgr4lfe    129
On 10/30/2016 at 4:24 PM, slot canyon said:

Appreciate the kind comments about my wife.  If she allows me to hang around another 2 months we will celebrate our 44th anniversary.  We went down to the games yesterday.  It was kind of a blur but some of the things that stuck with me ......We had a big lead going into the final inning or so in the Northwest Florida State game but ended up winning by only a couple of runs I believe.  Got the impression the coach wanted to put a "strain" on some of the new players to see how they would react.  I believe it was during the last inning of that game Snow (at 3rd) and McCracken (at SS) collided going after a ground ball hit between them.  Both were on the ground for about 3 minutes and then were assisted off the field by the training staff.  McCracken played in game 2 but Snow did not and I do not recall seeing her in the dugout.  Also, Fagan did not play and I did not see her.  Cooper did not play but was there and at times served as 1st base coach as did Draper and Gipson.  Wallace had a good day at the plate as did Kaitlyn Crocker.  She seems to be what I would call a "power slapper" batting style with a short run toward the pitch but hits a lot of line drive type shots through the infield.  Seems Tiffany used to hit a lot of balls hard into the ground that would bounce up high enough and allow her to beat the throw to first base.  Crocker also did a really nice bunt.  She has a lot of speed.  With the absence of Snow in game two, time at 1st base was divided between Perry and Abbott.  I thought Perry looked more comfortable and confident than she had in the past.  I sat next to the grandmother of one of our players and had some interesting conversations.  At one point I mentioned a few players that might be redshirts because they were just not getting the playing time currently.  She mentioned that when they begin selecting the players who make the travel team for away games the reality of the situation will really begin to set in for some of the players. 

OlderWhiskey, we may have to talk later.......I am considering driving up for the Tennessee and Middle Tennessee games.  Don't know if tickets can be purchased in advance. 

I live just outside of Nashville and we WILL be at the UT game in Columbia (just south of Nashville) and at MTSU.  Last year, we had to buy tickets for the UT game in Knoxville directly from UT.  

If you decide to come this way let me know!  I'm going to be trying to run down tickets for us.  My daughter (13 yoa) plays softball for her middle school and trying to find a travel team to get her on this next year.  

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4WDE    7

tgr4lfe...were you able to find out how to get tickets to either of the games you mentioned in TN?  Thx!

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slot canyon    20

Recent Phillip Marshall Article AUBURN, Ala. – For Auburn’s softball team, the mission is clear. And it won’t change. As Clint Myers heads into his fourth seasons as Auburn’s head coach, getting to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series has come to be expected. Winning it is the driving force as the Tigers begin preseason practice today. On June 8 of last year, Auburn and Oklahoma met in a winner-take-all showdown for the national championship. Oklahoma won 2-1, and the sting of that loss remains to this day. To take the next step, to win the national championship, the Tigers will have to replace three All-Americans - second baseman Emily Carosone, first baseman Jade Rhodes and left fielder Tiffany Howard. There’ll be youth in key areas, but there is talent aplenty, led by the likes senior All-America third baseman Kasey Cooper, senior shortstop Haley Fagan, junior catcher Carlee Wallace, senior outfielder Victoria Draper, sophomore pitcher Makayla Martin and junior pitcher Kaylee Carlson. And then there is a glittering freshman class. Casey Myers, the revered hitting coach who spent last season with the San Diego Padres is back, along with pitching coach Corey Myers. “I think every team is a work in progress,” Clint Myers said. “We did much teaching in the fall. We still have a few things to put in. It’s the refining of those skills, establishing a great mindset.” The competition for playing time will be fierce. “We’ve got some pretty good athletes,” Clint Myers said. “We tell them all the time that it’s the mental side of the game. It’s not all talent. If we can’t trust you are going to make the right play, you might not be out there. You have to show you understand the game.” The Tigers will be tested early and often. They open the season on Feb. 9 in the Triple Crown Tournament in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The first game will be a national championship rematch against Oklahoma, which returns last season’s team almost intact. Games against Washington, expected to be ranked in the nation’s top five, and Nebraska, also expected to be a national contender, come next before a game against Brigham Young, also expected to be ranked. Southeastern Conference play will begin March 10 at home against LSU, the team Auburn beat to win the SEC Tournament and a WCWS semifinalist last season. Replacing the leadership of the departed seniors, particularly Carosone, will be a key. “Coop has done a real good job,” Clint Myers said. “Carlson has really stepped up, even though she’s a junior. Victoria Draper has been great even though she was hurt. They understand the game. They have a great knowledge of the game. They are great examples off the field. Carlee Wallace has been great. Haley has done a tremendous job.” Myers sees some similarities between where his team is and where Oklahoma was at the start of last season. “Oklahoma struggled early with their young team las year,” Myers said. “We have to keep getting better and having a better understanding of who we are and what our capabilities are every day. “When we get into the SEC, then you start getting ready for postseason. Every weekend is like a super regional. The goal is to win two out of three every weekend. If we can win three, that’s kind of like getting an extra dessert.” A position-by-position look: PITCHERS Martin dominated Oklahoma hitters in the championship game last season, giving up only two unearned runs in the first inning. Carlson was mainstay over the course of the season. And they were outstanding in fall exhibition games. “Katie Carlson pitched 16 innings, struck out 22 and didn’t walk a hitter,” Myers said. “She got herself in trouble with walks a couple of times last year. That didn’t happen in the fall. Makayla pitched 16 innings and struck out 16. Both of them are throwing in the high 60s, better than where they finished in the spring last year.” Freshman right-hander Ashlee Swindle is the likely No. 3 pitcher in the rotation. Senior left-hander Jenna Abbott, who also will likely get her chances to hit, will try to fill the shoes of departed Rachael Walters out of the bullpen. Walk-on freshman left-hander Alexa Nemeth also could be in the mix. FIRST BASE Washington transfer Tannon Snow was a dominating hitter in the fall, leading the team in batting average and hitting four home runs. She will compete with sophomore Kendall Veach, who can play any infield position or even catch. Justus Perry, a highly touted freshman, also will compete for playing time at first base. “She’s extremely talented,” Myers said. “She just has to stop getting herself out. She doesn’t take many pitches. She’s gotten better defensively.” SECOND BASE Sophomore Casey McCrackin and freshman KK Cooper, one of the hitting stars of the fall, are locked in a tight race. Junior Emily Spain is in the competition, too. “McCrackin is ahead of Crocker defensively, but KK hit .529 in the fall,” Myers said. “It’s the ability to understand how we play defense. Emily didn’t have the fall we thought she could have, but she’s really smart. She’s done a really good job of teaching those other, too.” SHORTSTOP Fagan missed most of last season after undergoing knee surgery. She returned for the postseason, but only as the designated player. She’s full-speed and eager for final season, Myers said. “She had a great fall,” Myers said. “She’s in great shape. I think she has a chance to be an All-American. The numbers could be that good for her.” McCrackin and freshman Laney Joiner are behind Fagan. Whitney Jordan, who played shortstop in Fagan’s absence last season, has returned to her natural position in the outfield. THIRD BASE Cooper is the reigning ESPNW Player of the Year. She traveled the world with the U.S. National Team. She is among the favorites to be Player of the Year again. “She didn’t play much fall,” Myers said. “We wanted to give her a little bit of a break. Veach and McCrackin can play third. We have some bodies we can throw over there if needed.” CATCHER Wallace will be the starter, but she will likely share time with junior Courtney Shea much like last season. “Carlee Wallace had a good fall,” Myers said. “She hit .600. She’s really getting consistent. Courtney is a great hitter and she’s improved defensively.” OUTFIELD Draper, who missed fall practice after undergoing knee surgery, is expected to start in centerfield for the second consecutive season. Jordan also is likely to be a starter. Beyond that, the competition is going to bear watching as the season nears. Junior Maddie Gipson, last season’s starting right fielder, also missed fall practice. She’ll be in the competition along with sophomore Morgan Podany, sophomore Bree Fornis and freshman Alyssa Rivera will compete for the third starting position. Author Phillip Marshall @Auburn247

Also some good video on the Auburn Athletics site as well as the softball twitter site. From what I saw in the fall I would have to agree with what was said about Fagan. She plays with a lot of effort and really attacks the ball when hit her way. Hope her knees will be kind to her. This was her second knee surgery. Just the thought of not seeing Carasone at 2nd makes me sad. I know someone will step up. KK Crocker looks to me like a smaller version of Emily and was a very good hitter in fall ball. She will probably compete with McCracken for that position. I think Veach has really improved and is versitle. I believe I have seen her at a couple of infield positions as well as catcher. These gals really put in the work and I look forward to getting to see them develop this year.

Edited by slot canyon
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4WDE    7

Fagan is primed to have a great senior season. She may be able ot protect Cooper, because somebody will have to. Otherwise, Cooper will set a record for walks. Carosone, Howard, and Jade will all be missed. KK and McCrackin will probably alternate until someone takes the reigns. If neither are able to, could be a lot of alternating. Snow will not be Jade, but will be a major contributor (if she stays healthy). Maybe she is able to protect Cooper?  Catching and pitching should hopefully continue to develop and build on last year.  Wallace is natural leader.  Outfield is really where so much is up in the air. With Gipson and Draper coming off surgeries and missing all the fall, it may take some time to get back up to speed. Hopefully neither have lingering problems. Mix in Jordan, who is not a true outfielder, but who will be in the lineup because of her bat. Podany or Greenwood (depending on her shoulder injury) could be in the mix or have to see some time.  If Greenwood is limited, then Maresette from that freshmen group could get time. It was encouraging to hear Fagan and Wallace talk about the freshmen starting to step it up. They will be needed to fill some gaps and develop for the future. No cream puffs to start the year, so let's hope these next few weeks help them be ready!

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ellitor    4,496
31 minutes ago, 4WDE said:

Fagan is primed to have a great senior season. She may be able ot protect Cooper, because somebody will have to. Otherwise, Cooper will set a record for walks. Carosone, Howard, and Jade will all be missed. KK and McCrackin will probably alternate until someone takes the reigns. If neither are able to, could be a lot of alternating. Snow will not be Jade, but will be a major contributor (if she stays healthy). Maybe she is able to protect Cooper?  Catching and pitching should hopefully continue to develop and build on last year.  Wallace is natural leader.  Outfield is really where so much is up in the air. With Gipson and Draper coming off surgeries and missing all the fall, it may take some time to get back up to speed. Hopefully neither have lingering problems. Mix in Jordan, who is not a true outfielder, but who will be in the lineup because of her bat. Podany or Greenwood (depending on her shoulder injury) could be in the mix or have to see some time.  If Greenwood is limited, then Maresette from that freshmen group could get time. It was encouraging to hear Fagan and Wallace talk about the freshmen starting to step it up. They will be needed to fill some gaps and develop for the future. No cream puffs to start the year, so let's hope these next few weeks help them be ready!

If Tannon plays to her ability she will be Coop's protecter. Should have a higher average but maybe not the homers Jade had.

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AUBwins    426

Do you think we keep Kasey up in the lineup? When we moved her to the 2 slot, it helped her see better pitches.  I would not be surprised to see her start the year in the 3 spot until she starts getting a lot of walks. 

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WarTiger    997

I would imagine she would stay in the 2 spot given the positive results it yielded last year.  No point starting her in the 3rd spot knowing teams are going to pitch around her. 

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ellitor    4,496
2 hours ago, WarTiger said:

I would imagine she would stay in the 2 spot given the positive results it yielded last year.  No point starting her in the 3rd spot knowing teams are going to pitch around her. 

They can't if Tannon hits up to her ability.

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