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saminbama

Pre-Season Prediction for AU Softball

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I guess they think there will be some shakedown issues with Dean's first team.  I don't see us that low myself.  We skip the Gators, and have uat and UT at home.  If we can hit .300 as a team, we finish in the top 3. 

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I hope there's not that much of a "period of adjustment", but it could happen. Lets go out and prove them wrong!

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This team and program deserves to be picked higher than 6th.  I know the SEC is one of the toughest conferences in the country for softball [if not the toughest] but we have proven to be a top tier team over the last 4 years and the coaching change shouldn't have that much of an impact on how we are ranked.  We lost a few key players, but the roster is LOADED with talent and I don't think we took a step down at all at head coach.  This should provide some really good motivation for the players/coaches.  Let's get it going.

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14 hours ago, WarTiger said:

This team and program deserves to be picked higher than 6th.  I know the SEC is one of the toughest conferences in the country for softball [if not the toughest] but we have proven to be a top tier team over the last 4 years and the coaching change shouldn't have that much of an impact on how we are ranked.  We lost a few key players, but the roster is LOADED with talent and I don't think we took a step down at all at head coach.  This should provide some really good motivation for the players/coaches.  Let's get it going.

I find it amusing that the PAC12 or 16 or whatever it is now was once the powerhouse conference for softball until the SEC decided that we wanted to play too.

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7 hours ago, AUatHeart said:

I find it amusing that the PAC12 or 16 or whatever it is now was once the powerhouse conference for softball until the SEC decided that we wanted to play too.

The South being the conservative region that we are was late getting into women's sports in general and softball in particular.  Alabama being even more conservative than the rest of the region was even later.  Title IX changed all that.  As late as the late 90's, the AHSAA still sponsored a state slow pitch tournament.  My daughter graduated HS in 2000 and many of the smaller high schools played slowpitch for the HS season while most of the players played fastpitch in rec or travel ball.  Some of the schools even played split seasons, playing fastpitch in the first part and going to slowpitch for the last part.  This got them ready for the state slowpitch tournament.  During this time the PAC dominated women's softball and the mid-west and Big 10 was in the mix as well.  Throw in the fact that about 1/3 of the country wasn't producing players for the big colleges and you can see why the PAC was so dominant.  Now that the South has gotten on board and the SEC having so much money to spend on facilities and coaching staffs, the pendelum has swung a little to the East.  Even west coast girls come east because of this.  Bit of trivia.  Bammer was the first school to win the WCWS without a player originally from west of the Mississippi River.

Edited by saminbama
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Some parts of Mississippi (if not all) still play slow pitch in high school.  I can't understand why they haven't came on board with the rest of the country in that aspect.

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1 hour ago, AUatHeart said:

Some parts of Mississippi (if not all) still play slow pitch in high school.  I can't understand why they haven't came on board with the rest of the country in that aspect.

Pitching and competition was part of the issue in Alabama and probably Mississippi.  There were only a handful of teams playing the split season as saminbama explained above. The teams just didn't have pitchers.  Also, the ones that were playing fastpitch had to travel long distances and sometimes out of state to play.  Some dads took their daughters to Tennessee, Georgia and Florida to learn how to pitch.  As their daughters progressed some of these dads would start teaching pitching in their hometowns.  Groups of parents would also hire a pitching instructor to come to their area to work a weekend with groups of girls. The pitching got much better and more and more schools started participating.  I coached travel ball in the beginning stages in Alabama, in the late 80s and 90s. There was a group of high school coaches who worked for years to get AHSAA to sanction fastpitch.  Finally, in the mid 90s it was sanctioned.  Now Alabama high schools are a semi-hotbed for softball players.  Look at the Auburn and Alabama rosters.   Alabama girls also are scattered around many other teams as well. 

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46 minutes ago, around4ever said:

Pitching and competition was part of the issue in Alabama and probably Mississippi.  There were only a handful of teams playing the split season as saminbama explained above. The teams just didn't have pitchers.  Also, the ones that were playing fastpitch had to travel long distances and sometimes out of state to play.  Some dads took their daughters to Tennessee, Georgia and Florida to learn how to pitch.  As their daughters progressed some of these dads would start teaching pitching in their hometowns.  Groups of parents would also hire a pitching instructor to come to their area to work a weekend with groups of girls. The pitching got much better and more and more schools started participating.  I coached travel ball in the beginning stages in Alabama, in the late 80s and 90s. There was a group of high school coaches who worked for years to get AHSAA to sanction fastpitch.  Finally, in the mid 90s it was sanctioned.  Now Alabama high schools are a semi-hotbed for softball players.  Look at the Auburn and Alabama rosters.   Alabama girls also are scattered around many other teams as well. 

Good points, I haven't thought about it from that angle.

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One other point.  Other than the pitchers, slow pitch did offer one good thing.  The position players got a lot of practice playing on defense.  When my daughter played JC ball, most of the players grew up playing slow pitch and had only been playing fast pitch for a few years.  Her team was pretty good defensively.   Helped them reach the JC national tournament.  Sounds funny talking about fast pitch.  Don't use that term too much anymore.

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The sad thing for the rest of the country is AU can finish 6th in the SEC and still host a regional and have a shot at a super. 

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On 1/19/2018 at 9:27 AM, AUatHeart said:

I find it amusing that the PAC12 or 16 or whatever it is now was once the powerhouse conference for softball until the SEC decided that we wanted to play too.

Along with everything @saminbama said, I remember reading that the SEC Network was huge in giving schools added revenue to disperse to the other sports and invest in facilities.

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The preseason All-SEC team is posted on the official softball website.  It goes two deep for position players, plus three pitchers, one catcher, and one DP.  Carlson and Rivera are Auburn's two representatives.  The other two pitchers are Barnhill and Osorio, who is uat's only representative on the team.


Doesn't mean much,but interesting to look at.

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14 hours ago, OlderWhiskey said:

The preseason All-SEC team is posted on the official softball website.  It goes two deep for position players, plus three pitchers, one catcher, and one DP.  Carlson and Rivera are Auburn's two representatives.  The other two pitchers are Barnhill and Osorio, who is uat's only representative on the team.


Doesn't mean much,but interesting to look at.

 

Impressive that Rivera is the only sophomore.  All others are Jr/SR class.  Notice Florida has 5  players on the roster.  I don't believe any other team has more than 2.  Also looking at player "home state" ...4 California, 4 Florida, 3 Texas, 2 Georgia and 2 Missouri.

Edited by slot canyon

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I don't know, I just don't see it.  We have a lot of talent returning and some F and RSF who should help.  We know Coach Dean can get the job done and get the best out of his talent.  I see us being better than that. 

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On 1/27/2018 at 4:23 PM, around4ever said:

I don't know, I just don't see it.  We have a lot of talent returning and some F and RSF who should help.  We know Coach Dean can get the job done and get the best out of his talent.  I see us being better than that. 

My guess is they are questioning our offense. Riveria is by far our one superior hitter.  The rest have shown flashes and signs of being above average.  I expect improvement from most of them this season and we will surprise the rankers with much better results.

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Hoping your expectations are met, phan.  We were a poor hitting club last year, and lost Cooper, Fagan, and Wallace (141 RBIs). Really need  those second-year players like Crocker, McCrackin, and Perry to step up. If Rivera's our only dangerous hitter, she's going to get walked a lot. I won't be surprised if we struggle some this year due to offense.

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McCrackin is in her 3rd year not second.  I think each of the Snow sisters bring pretty good bats with them.  If we can keep them healthy, they could be the key and give us someone to protect Rivera with so she sees quality pitches.

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We may very well struggle early with the offense.  CMD is an old-school type softball coach.  Power pitching, defense and playing small ball on offense.  I think we'll see a lot of 2-0, 3-1 scores early in the season until the offense can come around.  One of the girls commented recently about having their third hitting coach in the last year.  It's going to take some time for all of them to get into a comfort zone.

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12 hours ago, OlderWhiskey said:

Hoping your expectations are met, phan.  We were a poor hitting club last year, and lost Cooper, Fagan, and Wallace (141 RBIs). Really need  those second-year players like Crocker, McCrackin, and Perry to step up. If Rivera's our only dangerous hitter, she's going to get walked a lot. I won't be surprised if we struggle some this year due to offense.

Having Taylon Snow in the line up with the hope of having close to a Riveria freshman year.  Actually being able to use Draper properly out of the lead off spot and on the bases should be able to manufacture runs.  Draper batted .340-ish last year.  McKrackin showed some positive signs down the stretch last season, just not sure there is a spot for her in the lineup.  Crocker, I am hoping that recovery from the knee injury affected her slap hitting style.  Perry and Tannon Snow are the wild cards for me, they both can hit, just have not seen the results yet at this level.  I am hopeful that the positive approach that Coach Ketelhut brings to the table will have results at the plate.  The biggest change in this staff to the last staff is gonna be a more positive approach from assistant coaches and aggressive play.  I see Dean-Ball as the softball version of Coach Pearls approach.  Minus Bruce's personality, not sure that can be repeated.  Aggressive and attacking.  I felt the bat was taken out of the hands of some of the players last year due to the staffs plate approach for them.  It is more important to get your pitch than to work the count.  Most of these pitchers the best pitch you will see is the first pitch, attack that pitch in the zone.

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I am excited at the thought of attacking the bases with Victoria.  She is one of the quickest players in the NCAA around the bases.  Our lineup has potential to be lethal with the speed on the bases, mix of power and contact hitters, as well as having the quality lefties in the batting order. We can either load them up together or break it up for more balance.  The addition of Taylon as a #2 hitter does wonders for Draper as lead-off and Crocker in the 9 hole.

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9 hours ago, WarTiger said:

McCrackin is in her 3rd year not second.  I think each of the Snow sisters bring pretty good bats with them.  If we can keep them healthy, they could be the key and give us someone to protect Rivera with so she sees quality pitches.

You are correct, WT.  I was thinking of it being the 2d year that McCrackin has played regularly.  She had only 45 plate appearances in '16 compared to 98 last year.  I do have high hopes for her, as her hitting seemed to pick up late last year.

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