AUM Softball set to open 2010 season, new complex - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

AUM Softball set to open 2010 season, new complex

MONTGOMERY, AL - The 2010 Auburn University at Montgomery softball team opens up its new season Tuesday Feb. 16 at the new AUM softball complex. The Lady Senators will host Judson College and the first pitch is set for 1 p.m. The new field is located on the corner of Senator Drive and University Drive next to the AUM Soccer Complex.

Prior to the first pitch, a reception will be held at noon in honor of the first ever on-campus softball game at AUM. The first pitch will be thrown by Kirby Caddell of Caddell Construction.

The Lady Senators softball team comes off a remarkable first season, finishing 31-22-1 in the regular season and 19-12-1 in the conference which earned them a fourth place finish in the Southern States Athletic Conference.

AUM softball program enters this new season, with high hopes and expectations facing nine national ranked opponents.

"We hope to make a statement this season but we have to keep building and moving forward as a team. We have a very talented team and everyone has something they can bring to the field on a daily basis," said Chris Wilcoxson head Softball Coach.

The Lady Senators will start the season with the return of a pitching staff that ranked first in the conference last season in earned run average, opponent's batting average, batters struck out, hits allowed, and earned runs allowed. The leader on the mound, All-American Brandi Richards returns after an outstanding freshman campaign. Richards led the conference and nation in strikeouts, era, hits allowed, and opponents batting average which helped her earn SSAC Pitcher of the Year Honors. Also returning for the Lady Senators are solid performers Danielle Ryan and Stephanie Baxley, who combined for 18 wins last season. Freshman newcomer, Jessica Perry is expected to see some playing time on the mound and help add depth to the pitching staff.

"We hope to keep everyone fresh and healthy and are counting on everyone to step up and contribute,"said Wilcoxson.  We have at least two players at each position, which gives us a lot of depth this season."

In the infield the Lady Senators return first baseman and 2nd team All -Conference Whitney Wyatt, who led the team in home runs and RBI's. Shortstop Allie Bobo, first team All-Conference performer Alli Converse, who hit 5 home runs, and another first team All Conference performer, Sara Allen are also back. AUM also returns Ashton Nelson at catcher, infielder Danielle Kirkpatrick, who was an All-Freshman selection at second base, and designated hitter Shea Driggers, also an All Freshman team performer.

Newcomers for this season include Morgan Dodd, a transfer from Coastal Carolina University who will fill in at third base and at designated hitter. Monica Hatcher is a transfer from Indian River Community College and will play second base.  Another transfer, Lauren Wilborn comes from Gadsden State and will also see time at second base.  Kacie Ryal is a shortstop that transferred from Northeastern Oklahoma, and Taylor Sain who transferred from Central Alabama.

"The newcomers are a very strong and athletic group that can hit, run and really be leaders on the field for us this season," said Wilcoxson.

The outfield returns all three starters last season and all three received postseason awards.  "This group can really be a strong foundation for us," said Wilcoxson.

The outfielders are led by Brandi Richards when she is not on the mound. Stacin Halverson was a first Team All- Conference left fielder, while Joanna Reynolds was named to the  All-Freshman team while playing in center field.  Joanna Reynolds and All-Freshman team member Megan Rogers return to anchor the outfield with their speed and range. Newcomers are an All-State junior college standout from Gadsden State, Taylor Burt, and freshman Rachel Stuart from Dora.

"I am looking forward to seeing this team in action. They work hard on and off the field," Wilcoxson said. "There is a good mix of returners and new girls so we are working on building that chemistry and prepare for our tough schedule and season."

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