Friday, October 20, 2017

Justin's World of Softball announces new website

Justin's World of Softball is proud to unveil, the new online home for all of JWOS' critically-acclaimed softball coverage.

As we prepared for our coverage of the 2018 preseason and regular season, it became glaringly obvious that a new site with better features and easier navigability was going to be a necessity sooner rather than later.

The new website includes individual sections for the site's news articles, as well as featured articles and the popular Where Are They Now feature series. Premiering in late October, our preseason coverage, including Conference Forecasts and the Top 50 player rankings, will debut and be featured solely on the new site.

Another coming feature, Dugout Chatter, the JWOS podcast, will debut in January and new episodes will be featured and archived on the site. The show will feature host Justin McLeod, analyst Kristina Thorson, and a variety of guests. 

A new email subscription service, that will include weekly emailed newsletters with a conglomeration of headlines, links to feature stories, and polls, is also a part of the new site. Readers can subscribe to this newsletter through the pop-up box when visiting the new JWOS home page.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Taryne Mowatt Named Arizona Pitching Coach

Former Arizona Wildcat great Taryne Mowatt has returned to her alma mater as the program's new pitching coach, as announced by the school earlier this week.

Mowatt received high praise during her two-year tenure as pitching coach at Ole Miss, where she shepherded a staff that lowered its cumulative team ERA by more than a full point year-to-year.

Under her guidance, the Rebels posted a 2.10 team ERA in 2017, while breakout star and first-year SEC player Kaitlin Lee posted a 1.82 ERA and won 23 games on the year.

Prior to Ole Miss, Mowatt's sole coaching experience at the collegiate level had been at Cal Baptist, where she spent three seasons as an assistant in charge of the pitching staff.

As a player, Mowatt was one of the finest in Wildcat history. During her four years at UA, Mowatt helped her squad to back-to-back national championships and set three Women's College World Series records during the '07 WCWS.

Mowatt ended her Wildcat playing career with a 100-33 win-loss record. She posted a career 1.54 ERA and 1,267 career strikeouts. The latter number includes 522 Ks in 2007, a mark that remains a PAC-12 conference record.

In her new position, Mowatt replaces Stacey Iveson, who took on a scaled-back administrative role earlier in the fall.

Kevin Blaskowski Resigns from West Texas A&M

West Texas A&M head coach Kevin Blaskowski has resigned from his post at the helm of the Lady Buffs.

Blaskowski recorded 467 victories in a dozen seasons as the WTAMU coach and led the program to the Division II national title in 2014.

The Lady Buffs' softball program restarted under Blaskowski's watch in 2006, following more than two decades of sitting dormant. The program went 11-43 in their inaugural season, but worked their way to a 35-21 record just three seasons later. The Lady Buffs have not recorded fewer than thirty-five victories since the 2009 campaign.

In addition to the 2014 national championship, the Lady Buffs won five Lone Star Conference titles during Blaskowski's tenure. The program will enter 2018 looking to extend their NCAA postseason appearance streak into its ninth consecutive year.

Associate head coach Candace Abrams will assume the reins of the WTAMU program on an interim basis.

Blaskowski's new position will be as the director of softball operations for DFW Express Fastpitch, an organization in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Meuchel named head coach at Montana

Melanie Meuchel has been named the new head coach at Montana, the school announced on Monday.

Meuchel, who had been interim head coach following Jamie Pinkerton’s mid-summer departure for Iowa State, was long thought to be the favorite for the position. She spent the past four years as Pinkerton’s first assistant with the Grizzlies, having been hired to the coaching staff during the program’s early developmental stages.

In charge of the Grizzy pitching staff, Meuchel helped lead guide then-freshman Michaela Hood to a team-leading 2.31 ERA in 2017 and 178 in just over 190 innings, en route to first-team all-conference honors and the Big Sky conference tournament's MVP award. Meuchel’s pitching staff posted a 3.09 staff ERA on the year and helped lead the program to its first-ever NCAA tournament berth.

A veteran coach, Meuchel will assume her first-ever full-time head coaching position with the Grizzlies. Her coaching resume also includes a graduate assistantship at Oklahoma and stints as an assistant at McNeese State and Nevada.

Montana finished the 2017 season with a record of 35-24, including a 15-6 conference mark. The Grizzlies went 3-0 in the conference tournament, twice besting host Weber State, and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Norfolk State hires James Inzana as head coach

James Inzana has been hired as the new head coach at Norfolk State, the school announced late Thursday.

Inzana joins the Spartans following an assistant coaching stint at Virginia Wesleyan, where the Marlins took home the 2017 Division III national championship and won a division-record fifty-four games en rout to the title.

Virginia Wesleyan had been Inzana's home for the past eight seasons, as he helped lead the program to five conference titles since 2011. Prior to his stint at VWU, Inzana coached for several years at the high school level and spent twenty years in the US Navy on active duty.

The Norfolk State position will be the first head coaching position of Inzana's career at the collegiate level.

At the helm of the Spartans, Inzana takes the reins of a team that finished 12-24 during the 2017 season, with a 5-13 conference record. He replaces Heidi Cavallo, who posted just a single winning record during her seven-year tenure and recorded 142 wins during that same time period.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

NPF's Texas Charge dissolved; will not participate in 2018 season

The Texas Charge, one of six teams that competed in the National Pro Fastpitch league in 2017, have folded and will not participate in the 2018 league summer season.

Announced in January 2015, the Charge had been the league's fourth-longest tenured franchise. In 2017, the squad finished in fifth place in the league standings and missed the postseason for the second straight season.

Formerly the Dallas Charge, the 2017 season also saw the team move their base of operations to San Marcos, Texas, where their home games were played at Texas State's Bobcat Softball Stadium.

With the team's dissolution this fall, the Charge will end their short-lived tenure with an all-time record of 59-89 and just a single postseason appearance, in 2015. Four different individuals have served as the team's head coach, including Florida assistant Jennifer Rocha, who posted the best record of the quartet at the team's helm with a 20-30 mark in 2016.

The Charge's dissolution marks the second time in as many years that the NPF has seen the exit of a league franchise, following the Pennsylvania Rebellion's departure prior to the 2017 season.

More than a dozen players were under contract with the Charge through 2018 and beyond, including pitchers Delanie Gourley and Dallas Escobado. JWOS obtained a copy of an email that was sent from the league office on Thursday to players on the Charge roster; in the correspondence, league commissioner Cheri Kempf notes that players previously actively under contract with the Charge are now free agents.

The team's social media accounts have been deactivated, though their official website remains active as of Thursday evening.

The league nor the team has issued an official statement. Attempts to contact representatives of each were unsuccessful. 

This is a developing story that will be updated.