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2020 Texas Softball - Back to OKC!

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With the season done and done for College Softball, time to discuss the 2020 season.  This will be Mike White's 2nd season in Austin after a very good campaign that saw us a game away from Oklahoma City and a #9/10 finish to the season and #8 in the final RPI.

As of today:

Key returnees:

  • Lauren Burke (1B)
  • Janae Jefferson (2B)
  • Reagan Hathaway (CF)
  • Shannon Rhodes (3B)
  • Taylor Ellsworth (C) 
  • MK Tedder (OF)
  • Kaitlyn Washington (OF)
  • Shea O'Learly (P)
  • Mary Iakopo (C)
  • Mack Parkers (IF)
  • Miranda Elish (P)

Players presumably on their way out via the portal or graduation:

  • Chloe Romero (P)
  • Janna Roberts 
  • Elicia Espinosa 
  • KK Hayer (graduation)
  • Brooke Bollinger (graduation)
  • Jaden Hoelker
  • Ariana Adams (maybe)

Incoming class:

  • Camille Corona (IF) - Dripping Springs
  • Grace Green (P) - Birdville
  • London Marter (C) - Atascocita
  • Alyssa Popelka (IF) - Westwood

Incoming transfers:

  • TBD

Biggest question marks for Texas - 

  • Will Miranda be fully healed by February 2020 and will Shea have a sophomore slump?
  • Who will be the third pitcher behind Elish and Shea? Green or a potential transfer?
  • Infield shuffle - who will be at 1B, SS and 3B when all is said and done?
  • Outfield jam - we have 5 capable OFs in Burke, Rhodes, Ellsworth, Washington and Tedder - someone will have to stick in the infield or sit on the bench

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Who will provide the power? 

We are probably a couple or three recruiting cycles away from being able to compete with elite teams, but the things I notice that separate us from the OU and UCLAs of the world:

--lack of power throughout the lineup

--errors, holy shit the errors

--dumbfuck baserunning decisions, sometimes even by White himself

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Power needs to come from Burke, Iakopo, Hathaway, Ellsworth and Rhodes.  Hopefully a full offseason with Shaw will help them further. 

If we get the right players into the right spots (and a newbie at SS), the errors should decrease.  Hopefully Ellsworth and Marder help Iakopo not have to log so many minutes behind the plate.  She looked EXHAUSTED. 

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The offense really stunk down the stretch.  It was kind of a weird hire at the time too. 

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7 hours ago, Js1 said:

The offense really stunk down the stretch.  It was kind of a weird hire at the time too. 

Hearing anything re:candidates?

 

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Softball hitting coaches with baseball backgrounds have been successful. Walton, Gajewski, Lisle 

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13 hours ago, Js1 said:

The offense really stunk down the stretch.  It was kind of a weird hire at the time too. 

Yeah the buddy hire (Shaw) didn't work for White.

Shaw was the only newcomer on White’s first staff at Texas since Chelsea Spencer and volunteer assistant Kailee Cuico had worked with White at Oregon. Shaw and White, though, did have a prior relationship. Previously, they were teammates on the USA Men’s National Fastpitch Softball Team. Before arriving at Texas, Shaw led the Division II program at the University of Mary for three seasons.

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Mike struck out on Klinger (UW) and Snow (OU).  Wonder what plan C is for the left side of the infield position? 

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Interesting candidate in Singleton.    Google says he is from Oakland/SF area,  played college baseball at Univ of San Diego,  drafted,  played in minors,  asst coach for a small college baseball team in Florida,  now hitting coach in minors.    33 yrs old.

Softball connection ?   Possible recruiting contacts in Cali ?   Guess we will have to stay tuned.    Is Rounding Third fairly credible  ?

 

0omGjIUg_400x400.jpg

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Jaden going close to home,  from Denton area.

Suppose softball has priority at this point.    Hope she is able to return for grad school.

Was a standout student at Billy Ryan H.S., serving as the valedictorian with memberships in the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, National Freshman Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta while also earning 2018 Academic All-State accolades.

https://texassports.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=8921

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It's quite a different direction, but as mentioned, one that has worked in the past - Tim Walton (asst at OU), Gajewski (asst at UF) and Lisle (asst at SC) all had baseball backgrounds.

I like that there's already legit accountability - hitting wasn't up to par so he made a change. 

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Baseball hitting coaches are brought to the fastpitch game for one reason...power numbers. Several seasons ago, baseball began to value the HR over all else. This hire is about Launch Angle and hitting more balls over the fence. Last season, Texas hit a bunch of doubles, but very few HRs. Singleton is coming to turn those doubles into four baggers, but buyer beware, with this approach, strikeouts always increase, and sometimes at alarming numbers. I hate that this is the way softball/baseball are being played now. I much prefer the gap to gap approach at the plate, and linedrives never go out of style. However, this is about keeping up with the Jones' and if we want to win, we have to be able to score runs in bunches.

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Seems like in softball where pitchers can dominate, it’s tougher to manufacture runs. So it might be easier to try to hit 3 solo home runs than try to put together 3 multihit innings. 

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If you look at the top 10 teams for HR this year:

  • OU - runner up - 108
  • Arizona - WCWS - 106
  • FSU - super regional - 105
  • JMU - super regional - 102
  • Virginia Tech - 97
  • ASU - 91
  • Coastal Carolina - 87
  • Alabama - WCWS - 83
  • Ok State - WCWS - 80
  • Marshall - 79

We hit 41 home runs.  It was an improvement over 2018 but still.....

Softball is becoming a pitching and power game.  Even elite pitching is get shelled by the long ball

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On 6/27/2019 at 9:31 AM, Js1 said:

I like that there's already legit accountability - hitting wasn't up to par so he made a change. 

this.  You can't hit for shit with the kids you're given, you are shit, hit the bricks pal, and beat it cause you are going out.  

Image result for alec baldwin glengarry

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Apparently we got Colleen Sullivan from UCLA? Anyone got secondary confirmation. 

Sophomore
C/1B
#24 in the 2018 class
.239 average in 92 ABs, 12 RBI, 4 doubles, 5 HR, 28 walks/19 K
.986 fielding %

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Oh and official.

https://texassports.com/news/2019/7/1/softball-adds-steve-singleton-as-an-assistant-coach.aspx

Quote

Prior to his time with the Miracle, Singleton led all offensive development for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Twins (Fort Myers, Fla.) in 2016. With the squad he served as both a first- and third-base coach, worked with infielders on daily skill development, helped implement and teach the system, plays, ideology and culture of a MLB club to entry level minor league players and helped the front office and minor league staff implement organizational objectives.

Okay yes.  I'm into it.  Both things that needed upgrades in 2020 - offensive and infield defense. 

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1 hour ago, Js1 said:

Apparently we got Colleen Sullivan from UCLA? Anyone got secondary confirmation. 

Sophomore
C/1B
#24 in the 2018 class
.239 average in 92 ABs, 12 RBI, 4 doubles, 5 HR, 28 walks/19 K
.986 fielding %

No confirmation,   is there access to the portal  ?

Reviewed the UCLA site/sched,  appears she was the #2 catcher,  didn't see any time at 1B.   Has power that MW likes.  

Strange that she would transfer from the team that won the national championship.    And the other catchers on the roster are Seniors except for one (Moreno) a Freshman C/IF that did not play in '19.  Maybe a top recruit coming in ?   But still...

csb warning:    Once had a conversation with a coach (not Texas) who in the conversation said "Coaching the game is not difficult,  ensuring the young ladies get along is the challenge."

 

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1 hour ago, Cairn Horn88 said:

He has a lot of baseball skills....does that translate into softball as well? 

No, CDC hates women and led a revolution against the extra assistant coach. Steve will be helping our baseball team.

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13 hours ago, torre said:

No confirmation,   is there access to the portal  ?

Reviewed the UCLA site/sched,  appears she was the #2 catcher,  didn't see any time at 1B.   Has power that MW likes.  

Strange that she would transfer from the team that won the national championship.    And the other catchers on the roster are Seniors except for one (Moreno) a Freshman C/IF that did not play in '19.  Maybe a top recruit coming in ?   But still...

csb warning:    Once had a conversation with a coach (not Texas) who in the conversation said "Coaching the game is not difficult,  ensuring the young ladies get along is the challenge."

 

Confirmed 

 

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NFCA HS All-Region:

Courtney Day: 1st Team P South Central
Camilla Corona: 1st Team SS South Central
 

Don't sleep on Corona.  I'm imaging something like:

C - Iakopo/Ellsworth
1B - Sullivan
2B - Jefferson
SS - Corona
3B - Rhodes
OF - Washington/Hathaway/Burke
DP - Elish (if not pitching) or Iakopo/Ellsworth (whoever is not catching) 

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Js1 said:

NFCA HS All-Region:  Courtney Day: 1st Team P South Central, Camilla Corona: 1st Team SS South Central.   Don't sleep on Corona.  I'm imaging something like:

C - Iakopo/Ellsworth
1B - Sullivan
2B - Jefferson
SS - Corona
3B - Rhodes
OF - Washington/Hathaway/Burke
DP - Elish (if not pitching) or Iakopo/Ellsworth (whoever is not catching) 

Love it.  Anything to move Burke out of infield🤘 

 

Edited by LTtxfan

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If you push Rhodes into the OF, where does one of Hathaway or Washington go? 

We're going to eventually see too many players who need to play every day and not enough positions. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Js1 said:

If you push Rhodes into the OF, where does one of Hathaway or Washington go? 

We're going to eventually see too many players who need to play every day and not enough positions. 

When we see that, we will be where we need to as a program.  

Edited by Goodman

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3 hours ago, Js1 said:

If you push Rhodes into the OF, where does one of Hathaway or Washington go? 

We're going to eventually see too many players who need to play every day and not enough positions. 

Or she goes to the bench.  But her power probably keeps her in the lineup somewhere. 

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Just curious on the assistant hire who has never coached women’s softball.  Hopefully, coach knows more about this than I do.

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That one is not a surprise. A late signee in White's transition class.

14 games, 0 starts, only 11 ABs. 

I wonder if any of Colleen's teammates want to join:  C/INF Shea Moreno - FR in the portal - she didn't play at all in 2019 (RS)

Yeah, we don't need 5 catchers on the roster (Ellsworth, Iakopo, Sullivan, incoming FR) unless you start having them play multiple positions and rotate them behind the dish. 

 

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Mike is really working hard to cycle out these Connie kids.  Props to him for that. 

She only played in half our games, started 18, and had 48 ABs (.229, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 HR, 7 RBI) and 6 errors (.897 fielding %). 

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Best of Luck in the future to both.

Glad Schattle is completing her degree.    Since he recruited her,  hope MW assists in finding a team to utilize Espinosa's talent.    She has potential,  imo. 

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