Coach Ron Faubion’s LadyStorm will try to break the ice – no pun intended – on the 2016 softball season Friday when the Southeastern Regional Invitational opens at Durant’s Multi-Sports Complex.
The Storm lost four seniors and two others won’t return from last year’s 32-23 team.
Eight new players will join this year’s team with six of them freshmen.
The 2016 edition of LadyStorm softball will feature four of last year’s top-six hitters and the leading pitcher.
Coach Faubion said, “We will be inexperienced early. The first two tournaments will give us an idea of what we have in this team.
“We were picked fourth in the Great American Conference preseason poll and this is the first time we weren’t first or very close to the top. Hopefully, this will give our kids some incentive as we open the season.”
Southeastern, weather permitting, will face Pittsburg State (twice), Emporia State, Missouri Southern State, Central Missouri State and the University of Central Oklahoma in the Regional Invitational. Five of the six games will be against regional qualifiers from last year. Missouri Southern State is the lone non-qualifier on the Storm schedule.
The University of Arkansas-Monticello Softball Classic is next up with games played in Bentonville, Arkansas. Opponents will be Wayne State, Missouri-St. Louis, Central Missouri, Minnesota State-Mankato, Fort Hays State and Missouri Western State.
“No question we will be throwing our freshmen into the fire early,” Faubion said. “At least two will start in the infield and maybe more.
“We have some talent, but it has to produce on the field. After fall practice, I think our new kids will be better able to handle the pressure.”
The Storm strength should come from four senior position players in second baseman Jessica Simmons (.415, 51 runs scored, three triples and a conference-leading 29 of 36 stolen bases) and outfielders Laramie Beal (.354, five home runs and 44 runs batted in), Sydney Kramer (.396, 13 doubles and 39 RBIs) and Courtney Riddle (.365, five homers and 44 RBIs).
Senior pitcher Jessica Seay (16-10, 3.72 earned run average and 112 strikeouts) will lead a circle crew that includes sophomore Ashley Moore (2-3) junior transfer Hunter Offill and freshmen Emily Cudd and Destiny Riddle.
A big hitter is needed for the middle of the lineup and it could come from Beal, Kramer or Riddle.
Speed will come from Simmons, Kramer, Riddle, freshman Keshia Thompson and senior specialist Shaina Crites.
Overall, the team should have a little more speed and athleticism with more emphasis on the hit and run. Defenses will be set to stop Simmons and try to prevent the bunt, steal and score.
Southeastern must come up with a solid No. 2 pitcher, reliever and closer from freshmen Riddle and Cudd, transfer Offill and sophomore Moore.
Freshmen Mykaela Wallace (shortstop) and Thompson and/or Cudd (third) are expected to start with freshman Aston Adkins and sophomore Jordyn James working at first base.
Freshman Jasmin Morales could see time in the infield and outfield, along with transfer junior Kennedy Been in the outfield.
Junior Conner Harmon will handle the catching duties with James and Morales also available.
Southeastern has been plagued by typical spring sports weather and good practice time has been at a minimum. That always helps with an unreal 44 consecutive conference games beginning on February 19.
That stretch run allows for no colds, sprained ankles or flue symptons, which falls into the category of fantasy softball.
Faubion said, “I believe we have the talent to be a good team. Our first two tournaments will really test our freshmen and that’s what we need.
“We could play well and not have a good record going into conference play at Northwestern. I think our fans will enjoy watching these kids get after it. We really need a good break in the weather for our Regional Invitational and we need good crowds to come out and get acquainted with our new players.
“We’ve done about all we can do in practice and we’re ready to get the season started.”
Southeastern Softball 2016 Roster
No. Name Ht. Cl. Pos. B/T Hometown
1 Jasmine Morales 5-3 FR Util. R/R Stafford, TX
2 Hunter Offill 5-6 JR P R/R Van Alstyne, TX
3 Ashton Adkins 5-10 FR Util. L/L Aledo, TX
4 Conner Harmon 5-6 JR C R/R Marietta, OK
6 Mykaela Wallace 5-7 FR SS/3B R/R Henryetta, OK
7 Jessica Seay 5-7 SR P R/R Harrah, OK
8 Laramie Beal 5-7 SR OF L/R Coalgate, OK
9 Ashley Moore 5-7 SO P R/R Mesquite, TX
10 Courtney Riddle 5-7 SR OF R/R Irving, TX
11 Emily Cudd 5-5 FR Util. R/R Purcell, OK
12 Jessica Simmons 5-2 SR 2B L/R Bethel, OK
14 Keeshia Thompson 5-7 FR Util. R/R Dodd City, TX
15 Kennedy Been 5-2 JR OF L/L Denton, TX
17 Sydney Kramer 5-4 SR IF/OF L/R Arlington, TX
23 Jordyn James 5-8 SO C/1B R/R Arlington, TX
24 Shaina Crites 5-5 SR IF/OF R/R Durant, OK
44 Destiny Riddle 5-6 FR P R/R Muskogee, OK
Head Coach: Ron Faubion (Oklahoma State, ’70; Southwestern, ’72)
Assistant Coach: Kaycee Taylor (Angelo State, 2011; Midwestern, 2013)
Graduate Assistant: Lauren Hayes (Langston, 2014)
Southeastern Softball 2016 Schedule:
5-7 Southeastern Regional Invitational
At Durant Multi-Sports Complex
5 Pittsburg State 12:30 p.m.
5 Emporia State 3 p.m.
6 Missouri Southern State 10 a.m.
6 Central Missouri 3 p.m.
7 Pittsburg State 10 a.m.
7 Central Oklahoma 12:30 p.m.
12-13-14 at University of Arkansas-Monticello D-II Softball Classic
At Bentonville, Arkansas
12 Wayne State University 11 a.m.
12 Missouri-St. Louis 3 p.m.
13 Central Missouri 11 a.m.
13 Minnesota State-Mankato 3 p.m.
14 Fort Hays State 11 a.m.
14 Missouri Western State 1 p.m.
19 at Northwestern * 2 p.m. (2)
20 at Northwestern * 12 p.m. (2)
26 Southwestern * 1 p.m. (2)
27 Southwestern * 12 p.m. (2)
4 Henderson State * 1 p.m. (2)
5 Henderson State * 12 p.m. (2)
11 at Ouachita Baptist * 1 p.m. (2)
12 at Ouachita Baptist * 1 p.m. (2)
18 Harding University * 2 p.m. (2)
19 Harding University * 12 p.m. (2)
25 at Arkansas Tech * 2 p.m. (2)
26 at Arkansas Tech * 12 p.m. (2)
29 East Central * 12 p.m. (2)
1 Southern Nazarene * 2 p.m. (2)
2 Southern Nazarene * 12 p.m. (2)
8 at Oklahoma Baptist * 3 p.m. (2)
9 at Oklahoma Baptist * 1 p.m. (2)
12 at East Central * 2 p.m. (2)
15 Southern Arkansas * 2 p.m. (2)
16 Southern Arkansas * 12 p.m. (2)
22 at Arkansas-Monticello * 2 p.m. (2)
23 at Arkansas-Monticello * 12 p.m. (2)
28-30 – GAC Tournament Bentonville, Arkansas TBA
5-8 NCAA D-II Regionals TBA
12-15 NCAA D-II Super Regionals
19-20 NCAA D-II World Series TBA
Great American Conference games. Home games in bold.
Contact Harold Harmon at email@example.com.