Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2013 ACC Softball Forecast

Team that might surprise us all: Maryland
Gardner in her first "fall ball" series for the Terps.
(Photo cred: Ms. Sheri Gardner)
(The Terps made a low-profile addition via transfer this off-season, when they added former Michigan Wolverine Mandy Gardner. Gardner was vastly underused on Carol Hutchins’ Wolverine squad, and her move to College Park will be a huge boost for the Terps. In her first fall ball weekend for her new team, Mandy went 8-12, and registered the Terps’ only hit versus the NPF all-stars. In a small but talent-heavy ACC, Maryland could become a new player at the top of the conference.)
Team that might disappoint us all: Georgia Tech
(Following the graduation of six seniors who had a major impact on Tech’s success for the past several years, the team sees new starters at a number of positions. Hope Rush continues to tear up the opponents in both the circle and at the plate, rebounding from a slight “sophomore slump” in 2011. Her walk-strikeout ratio is almost the only thing you can fault her with. But even a star’s best efforts can’t make up for the loss of a half-dozen valuable role players.)

Pitcher of the Year: Monica Perry, Florida State
Player of the Year: Hope Rush, Georgia Tech
Coach of the Year: Lonni Alameda, Florida State

Conference Champs: Florida State Seminoles

Players to Watch:
Lacey Waldrop, Florida State – The second half of a dynamite pitching duo with Monica Perry, Waldrop is only a sophomore and has the talent and the chops to reach Perry and potentially outshine the senior as the Seminoles’ #1 starter.
Kelly Delashmit, Georgia Tech – Though most of her career has been spent as a role player, a pinch runner most of the time, Delashmit is one of two seniors on the Tech team this year (Hope Rush is the other), and sometimes the underappreciated speedsters are the ones that can do the most damage with that key stolen base or heads-up running around the basepaths.
Mandy Gardner, Maryland – Like I mentioned above, at Maryland, Gardner will finally get a chance to show off the talent that was just going to waste on the bench @ Michigan. She impressed in her Terps debut, and will look to build on that in regular season action.
Lori Spingola, North Carolina – One of the best of the best in a pitching-heavy conference, Spingola is the clear standout on the Tar Heels team. The tall junior hurler looks to continue an already-uber-impressive career. Named to the All-ACC 1st Team two years in a row, and was crowned pitcher of the year in 2012.
Kat Banks, Virginia Tech – A speedy outfielder who also posses an excellent pitching arm, Kat saw a bit of a drop in her power-hitting statistics in 2012, but her grand salami in the Hokies’ first game of the ACC tournament that gave them the win over Maryland more than made up for it. Will try to return to the numbers she put up as a true freshman in 2011. After putting up a 103-10 record in the circle in high school, to go with a sub-1.00 ERA, one wonders if Banks will be able to utilize that aspect of her game more often than three times a year, the most she’s logged in a collegiate season thus far.

Conference Projection:
1. Florida State
2. Georgia Tech
3. Virginia Tech
4. North Carolina
5. Maryland
6. Virginia
7. NC State
8. Boston College

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