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Softball team has high expectations

9 February 2014 By Payam Agha-Ghassem, Contributing Writer No Comments

After finishing the 2013 season with a 30-28-1 overall record and coming up short in its semifinal appearance in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, Towson’s expectations for the upcoming season are high.

“As a team, I really want us to just come together,” junior infielder Hailey Balk said. “We have a young team and we hope to win a CAA championship this year.”

The CAA preseason poll selected Towson to finish fifth in the conference.

“I don’t pay attention to those kind of things,” Balk said. “Every year you get a new class and other teams get new players, so you never really know what’s going to happen.”

Thirteen letter-winners will be returning to Towson. Still, the Tigers are hoping its youth can be a strength for them this season. The team added five freshmen to its roster. The team also lost six seniors to graduation, leaving just four seniors left on the team.

“We have a great group of freshmen that have added a lot of depth to our lineup,” senior third basemen Delanie Dunham said.  “Having a young team this year should have no negative effect on us at all.  If anything, we are stronger.”

The loss of star pitcher Katie Lingmai may be the biggest. She’ll certainly be missed on and off the field. Last season, she became the most accomplished pitcher in school history. She is Towson’s all-time leader in complete games, shutouts, strikeouts, games started, and innings pitched.

However, Towson is confident its pitching staff can step up to fill the void left by Lingmai, especially with pitcher Missy McCormick fully healthy.

“Well, Missy [McCormick] missed of the season last year with an injury, so she pretty much lost that year,” Head Coach Lisa Costello said. “Coming back, she’s even stronger now.”

Costello is also confident its freshmen pitchers can throw a lot of innings for the team. Dunham has no doubt that the pitching staff, through all of their hard work in the offseason, will be able to translate that hard work into wins this season.

Pitchers can’t win games alone though.  Balk hopes the team can step up offensively and provide more run support for its pitchers.

Balk and Dunham had the highest batting averages on the team last season, batting .297 and .311, respectively. They hope to continue their success this season.  The team’s emphasis on offense was a huge part of its offseason.

“We’ve hit a lot,” Costello said. “We track how many swings we take and every kid in the lineup right now has had over 20,000 swings this offseason.”

The Tigers began their season Friday, Feb. 7 with a 7-3 win over Youngstown State at the USC Upstate Classic in South Carolina.  It was the first of four games that Towson will be playing as part of the three-day tournament.

Costello is not yet looking ahead to the big conference opponents on the schedule like Hofstra and James Madison; she wants her team to remain focused.

“Right now, we’re looking forward to Eastern Michigan,” Costello said. “One game, one day.”

 


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