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Recent article by Phillip Marshall.  There has been some buzz about the pitchers but as mentioned at the end of the article, Denver Bryant is an interesting player.  I hope we will be able to play some form of fall ball and get an early read on the team.
 

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Dean: Auburn softball ready to 'compete at the highest level'

By Phillip Marshall Jun 16, 2020

AUBURN, Alabama – Auburn softball coach Mickey Dean, like every other coach in college athletics, wonders what the future holds as the COVID-19 pandemic continues its deadly spread. But he is convinced that, when it’s time to play again, his fourth Auburn team will have big possibilities.

Makenna Dowell hit .346 last season. (Photo: Auburn University)

Save pitcher Ashlee Swindle, an additional year of eligibility added when the season was shut down by the pandemic means Auburn’s seniors from last season will return. A top-5 recruiting class, including the nation’s No. 2 prospect, will join them.

“We have some returning players who could have a huge impact,” Dean said. “And then we have some incoming freshmen who could have a huge impact. With this recruiting class and these seniors returning, the bar is extremely high right now.”

How high is extremely high?

“I think we can compete at the highest level,” Dean said.

Dean’s roster will include 29 players, by far the most in his career. He won’t have them together on the field until school starts in August. He and assistants Eugen Lenti and Ruby Rojas meet with players via Zoom once a week.

“When you take a look on paper, I feel very confident about our roster,” Dean said. “We got some pieces that we needed. The pieces we added are very high caliber.”

There will be open competition, Dean said, at every position.

“I don’t know any other fair way to do it,” Dean said. “The biggest thing is team chemistry, keeping them all together and helping them see the big picture. If you can do that, that’s the battle. As far as who to play, their play is going to determine that by the time we get to the SEC. They are going to have opportunities to show us what they can do.”

The Tigers will compete in updated Jane B. Moore Field. A new indoor facility is on the verge of being completed.

“It’s almost done,” Dean said. “It’s really going to be nice.”

On the field, the most significant upgrade going forward might be in the pitching circle.

With a 6-0 record and 1.35 ERA, sophomore right-hander Samantha Yarbrough was one of the hotter pitchers in the nation when last season was shut down. Junior left-hander Lexie Handley was 4-6 with a 3.43 ERA but is one of the harder throwers in the game. Freshman right-hander KK Dismukes missed most of the season with arm issues, since resolved.

Among the incoming freshmen, Madison Penta, a 6-foot-2 right-handed pitcher from Chesapeake Bay, Md., was rated the nation’s No. 2 recruit by Flo Softball and No. 3 by Extra Innings Softball. Shelby Lowe, a 5-foot-9 pitcher from Carrollton, Ala., led the state with 15.7 strikeouts per game and was a Super All-State selection with a 9-4 record and an 0.14 ERA.

Senior right fielder Alyssa Rivera returns as the offensive leader. She hit .358 with six home runs and 18 RBIs in 26 games. Shortstop Makenna Dowell hit .346 with two home runs and 12 RBIs. Senior third baseman Tannon Snow dropped off from her junior season but hit .292 with two home runs.

Among the incoming freshmen, outfielder Paige Gerachty was ranked the No. 21 prospect in the country by Extra Inning Softball. She hit .450 or better in each of her four seasons at Lincolnway East High School in Frankfort, Ill.

Perhaps the most interesting signee is Denver Bryant, a 5-foot-7 infielder from Dougherty High School in Albany, Ga. She played baseball early in her high school before switching to softball fulltime last season. She led the state with a .759 batting average and hit 11 home runs.

 

 

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Recent article by Phillip Marshall.  There has been some buzz about the pitchers but as mentioned at the end of the article, Denver Bryant is an interesting player.  I hope we will be able to play som

Article about Yarbrough and Horton in Softball America top 100.    

Here is the link from the AU Softball site:     

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As part of a 6/19/2020 "article" by Jason Caldwell, he was asked to comment about next years potential  lineup.  Some of his projections surprised me which I have in quotes  "I think you’re correct about Denver Bryant. I think Makenna Dowell did a solid job there this year, but I believe Bryant’s upside is going to be extremely high. I would probably put Abby Tissier behind the plate with Justus Perry at first. Maybe Dowell at second, Bryant at short and Tannon Snow at third. In the outfield I could see Paige Geraghty being another true freshman who plays along with classmate Kelsey Schmidt. Both could get into the lineup with Alyssa Rivera in the outfield. If they’re not in the lineup one could be the designated player for this team."  My main question has to do with the two freshmen in the outfield especially since we now have two well experienced upperclassman with Tyler King and recent transfer Kaylee Horton.  I know these freshmen have very good credentials but that would be a bold projection not having seen them on the college diamond.  I may be overreading since he says "both could into the lineup", but I believe King and Horton are quality players with lots of college experience.

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I agree. He brought 2 transfers in to play not sit. Especially Horton who is a great defensive OF and if  I remember she led her team in the regionals so she has experience IN the SEC and playoffs.

Tyler King is your prototypical leadoff hitter or falls to last with her type of hitting. 

Hard for freshmen to take over....at least at the start of the season. 

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Agree in general with the thoughts above, but note several players have come in and started as freshmen; Kasey Cooper, Carlee Wallace, Rivera, Taylon Snow.  Taylon may be the only one who was a Day 1 starter.  However it turns out, I'm getting pumped for the 2021 season.

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Softball America article about Kaylee Horton.

 

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Auburn's Kaylee Horton Heads To Home State To Finish Career

“Everything happens for a reason.”

Kaylee Horton keeps that line in her Twitter bio for good reason. Horton entered her name into the transfer portal just before the start of her senior season in 2020, which was a tough decision but the right choice for her. The former Ole Miss center fielder loved her school and the time she spent there, it was just no longer the right place for her.

“Entering the portal, it was a really hard decision to make because I love my Ole Miss family and my teammates. But I think it was the right decision for me,” Horton told Softball America in a phone interview.

Shortly after entering the college softball transfer portal, Horton received recruiting interest from Auburn head coach Mickey Dean. She was intrigued from the start, as Auburn is a school that is about a three-hour drive from her home in Jasper, Ala. The Tigers ultimately won her over, as Horton made it official in April that she was going to play her final college softball season in her home state.

Of course, like it was for other transfers, the transfer season was certainly different for Horton since the COVID-19 pandemic impacted in-person encounters and experiences. But that’s also shown Horton that her new team will go to any length to make sure she feels at home.

 

“When Coach Dean called, I was really excited because I wanted to be back in state to finish my last year of softball,” Horton said. “It's amazing. Everyone here is like a family. It's really nice to actually get to know people outside of softball before we actually get to team practices.”

Horton recently moved into her living space at Auburn as classes recently began. One of her first experiences on campus was joining the class of Auburn's first-year softball players for a lunch meeting with the coaching staff. That was the first time she’d met the full staff, which was a valuable dynamic of recruiting that was lost due to COVID-19.

And what are the Tigers getting in Horton? A do-it-all type of player. The 2019 SEC All-Defensive Team selection can play multiple positions, adds speed to the lineup and has a veteran presence in arguably the toughest conference in college softball. She’s also a two-time SEC Spring Honor Roll honoree.

Despite the previous accomplishments Horton garnered throughout her college career, she is most importantly trying to lead by example with her new squad. Horton hopes that by staying within the conference, she'll be able to pass down what she's learned on and off the field in the SEC.

“I'm trying not to live in the past because I want to keep moving forward and working hard,” Horton said. “My goal is just to stay focused and keep grinding because I want to help Auburn go all the way to the World Series. We have all these goals here. I just want to be a great example and a great leader.

 

 

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21 hours ago, slot canyon said:

Was her wanting a transfer connected in anyway to the firing/resigning of her Ole Miss coach after allegations of not honoring a walk-on's wish for scholarship money? It seems the parents got involved in trying to get back at the HC. It got pretty nasty reading about it last year.

Just wondering if Horton was the walk-on or she left bc her HC that probably recruited her had resigned last year and she wanted out going into her last year.

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16 hours ago, steeleagle said:

Was her wanting a transfer connected in anyway to the firing/resigning of her Ole Miss coach after allegations of not honoring a walk-on's wish for scholarship money? It seems the parents got involved in trying to get back at the HC. It got pretty nasty reading about it last year.

Just wondering if Horton was the walk-on or she left bc her HC that probably recruited her had resigned last year and she wanted out going into her last year.

I would say Horton was anything but a walk-on.  She was basically a starter beginning her freshman year and by the end of her junior year (2019) was selected as all SEC defensive player.  She did not express any negativity about her prior team experience, just that it was time to move on.  AU is probably glad to have her.  Not every day you get a transfer of her caliber. 

This article from Softball America provides some insight into the drama:  https://www.softballamerica.com/stories/mike-smiths-ole-miss-resignation-called-witch-hunt-travesty/

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There is a 7 second video on the AU softball twitter page from practice today.  Something I read earlier indicated they would break down practices into small groups which looks to be the case.  Most interesting was seeing the AU dugout down 1st base line and the indoor practice facility just beyond for convenient access.

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Article about Yarbrough and Horton in Softball America top 100.

 

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AUBURN, Ala. – Softball America released its first look at the Top 100 Collegiate Players for the upcoming 20201 campaign. Two Tigers earned a spot in the publication's early rankings.

Junior pitcher Samantha Yarbrough returns to the list, checking in at No. 68. Yarbrough closed her debut season as part of Softball America's Top 100 of 2020. Transferring into the program from Ole Miss, Kaylee Horton also earned a spot at No. 90.

Yarbrough appeared in 13 contests, primarily as a relief pitcher. The right-hander earned a starting role over the final two weeks of the shortened 2020 season with three starts in the circle, two of which were complete-game efforts.

Over her debut season with the Tigers, Yarbrough was undefeated in the circle with six wins and a save. She allowed just eight runs over 48.2 innings. With help of a 16.1 consecutive scoreless innings streak, Yarbrough recorded a team-leading 1.15 ERA, the sixth lowest among SEC pitchers. The Fairhope, Ala., native allowed just 24 hits and held opponents to a .147 average at the plate.

Horton, a transfer from Ole Miss, has not seen the field since the 2019 season, but the hype around her return to the diamond and her SEC resume earned a spot in the top 100.

During her last season with the Rebels, Horton was named to the SEC All-Defensive team after committing just one error in right field. The Jasper, Ala., native started 61 games for Ole Miss and closed the 2019 season with a .290 average with 31 runs scored and 28 RBI.

Horton was tied for second in the SEC with five triples. She added four doubles for a .364 slugging percentage. She tallied 13 multi-hit and eight multi-RBI games for the Rebels. On the base paths, Horton went 23-for-29 in steal attempts to rank fourth in the league.

 

 

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Does anyone know if auburn honored the extra year of eligibility for all the players, not just the seniors. I was looking at the roster and saw where each of the players class had changed instead of staying in their respective class.

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NCAA granted every player an extra year of eligibility.  I have heard that Auburn will honor scholarships for all but the NCAA has to rule on whether to allow schools to increase the number of players on their roster to accommodate for the extra players.  For the 2021 season, the NCAA expanded roster sizes and I am hopeful that they would do the same for all the players that lost a year due to Covid and not just the 2020 seniors..

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Today saw reference to a podcast series called Out of the Box.  It is hosted by the two Bama softball radio broadcasters.  They are currently doing a "softball media day" series interviewing SEC coaches about 2021 season.   Recently completed interview with HC's from Florida, Arkansas and Tennessee.  I did not listen to the entire 1hr 46 min podcast but listened to the last 5 minutes and they are doing 3 more SEC teams Dec 4, which will include Mickey Dean.  I do not know the time of the broadcast but you can go to their site and listen after it has aired.  The other program coaches on the second podcast will be Missouri and Mississippi State.  

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On 11/23/2020 at 11:41 AM, slot canyon said:

 

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All-white has been a team-favorite for years now, usually paired with white belts & socks. This look will be slightly different for the upcoming season with new orange belts & socks.

Storm troopers!

I'm ready for some softball. Regarding the OP, that Denver Bryant young lady is from my neck of the woods. I never would have imagined that school producing D-1 softball talent. I'm ready to cheer her on!

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On 12/4/2020 at 9:07 PM, AU1947 said:

My understanding from a players dad is they ALL got the year back. Don't think you can go by what they show on the roster and some may have chosen not to take it....

That's my understanding, across all sports. While justified, this decision is going to force major changes in roster allowances, recruiting, on and on. Also, some players eligible for this "free year" may not choose to use it. I was sick of school after five years and wanted to move on.

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23 hours ago, Mikey said:

That's my understanding, across all sports. While justified, this decision is going to force major changes in roster allowances, recruiting, on and on. Also, some players eligible for this "free year" may not choose to use it. I was sick of school after five years and wanted to move on.

Yep.  I notice that Abby Tissier did not even take her redshirt year she had coming.  She missed the 2019 season due to injury, but is now listed as a senior.  Seems like she's hardly played at all.  Incidentally, the roster page now has new photos posted.

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12 hours ago, Hspoprn said:

A bit off topic, but has a schedule for 2021 been finalized ?

I don't believe the SEC has even provided a date for the start of team competition for softball for 2021.  Last year the schedule was announced late November.  COVID seems to have us in a holding pattern and cases expected to increase in the near term.

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