(Several high-profile transfers over the last couple of years have added some star players to the M-State roster. NCAA transfer rules forced Allison Owen to sit out last season, but she's ready to go this year, and is going to be a great asset to the team. Logan Foulks (see more, below) is a new addition from the North Carolina Tar Heels and will be able to play immediately. 6'0" senior pitcher Stephanie Becker is a lefty starter who has done some great things during her time in Starkville. Her name appears several times throughout the school's record book, and she's still got a whole season to go! The Bulldogs surprised a few people with their conference tournament appearance last year, and I expect them to do more of the same this season.)
Team that might disappoint us all: Florida
(Florida's unexpected, utter collapse in the SEC title game and their premature exit from the NCAA tournament, coupled with the graduation of Michelle Moultrie and exit of three other starters, don't set the Gators up very well heading into the 2013 season. Although they have an exciting freshman leader in Aubree Munro, with a Tennessee team that returns eight starters; a tough Missouri squad; and a Georgia team that is always in the mix at the top of the game, Tim Walton's team will have to fight HARD is they want another shot at the division title, much less the conference, in 2013.)
Pitcher of the Year: Rachele Fico, LSU
Player of the Year: Raven Chavanne, Tennessee
Coach of the Year: Beth Torina, LSU
Conference Champs: Tennessee Lady Vols
Players to Watch:
|Logan Foulks playing 3rd in a Mississippi State practice.|
AJ Andrews, LSU- While everybody else has their eye on Rachele Fico in Baton Rouge, I'm going to be watching a couple of others, as well. AJ Andrews is a speedy, swift outfielder, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a player that's more fun to watch anywhere in softball. Obviously, the play that everybody remembers is this one, but she impressed me several times throughout the year, and that heads-up play she exhibited came from a young lady who was just in her first season of college softball.
Anna Swafford, Georgia- Another speedy outfielder for a top-level team that you're going to want to keep your eye on. Despite being just a sophomore, Anna will be an offensive & defensive leader for the Dawgs this year. She had three home runs and nineteen stolen bases last year (only caught stealing three times). On the defensive side, she made only two errors in the outfield. A little obscure fact here for you: Anna was hit by a pitch thirteen times during the course of the season, one of four Bulldog players who registered double-digit HBP totals at season's end.
Corrin Genovese, Missouri - As a biased fan, Corrin has become one of my favorite players, as well as one of my favorite people. As an unbiased reporter, I think Corrin is one of the top defenders in the conference, and that's really saying something. Athletic and normally-impossible plays are once-again made possible when they're hit in Corrin's direction. Don't count her out as a hitter, either - she provides some excellent bat and foot speed anywhere in Coach Earleywhine's lineup.