Softball Opens 2007 Season This Weekend In Mississippi
Feb. 23, 2007
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -
This Week: Southeast Missouri State softball kicks off the 2007 season this weekend with the six-team University of Memphis Blues City Classic in Southaven, Miss. On Friday (Feb. 23), the Redhawks battle the host Tigers (1 p.m.) and Alabama A&M (3 p.m.), before facing Evansville (11 a.m.) and Central Arkansas (3 p.m.) on Saturday (Feb. 24) with bracket play slated to begin on Sunday, Feb. 25. Live stats for the tournament will be available at GoSoutheast.com all weekend.
Scouting The Redhawks: Heading into Friday's season-opening contest against Memphis, Southeast and 25th-year head coach Lana Richmond return eight letterwinners and five starters from last season's 28-24 team. Junior infielders Megan McDonald (.364 BA, 12 doubles) and Michelle Summers (.324 BA, 11 home runs, 33 RBI) are the leading returning hitters for the Redhawks en route to both players capturing All-OVC honors for the second straight year.
Scouting The Lady Tigers: Memphis heads into the Blues City Classic with a 5-5 record on the year after it posted a 1-3 record last weekend at the Sunshine State Tournament in Tallahassee, Fla. The Tigers suffered losses to #22 Florida State, Jacksonville and Kansas, while handing defeating South Carolina by a 3-1 score. Sophomore outfielder Leandra Hines leads Memphis on the young season with a .444 batting average and a .556 slugging percentage. Freshman infielder Heather Mott ranks first on the team in home runs (four) and runs batted in (eight). Senior pitcher Jenna Kubesch has produced a 3-2 record on the mound with 24 strikeouts and a 2.41 ERA. Windy Thees is serving her second season as head coach of the Tigers and has produced a 33-31 record at the Conference USA school.
Scouting The Bulldogs: Alabama A&M enters the weekend with a 0-9 season record. After finishing 0-5 at the Central Arkansas Spring Clash last weekend, the Bulldogs dropped a doubleheader to Tennessee State in their home opener Tuesday afternoon by scores of 4-3 and 7-4. The Bulldogs have already faced two of five OVC teams (TSU and Eastern Illinois). Junior utility player Keyonna Nash leads AAMU with a .286 batting average, while sophomore outfielder Re'Quinicia Mack is hitting .273 with seven runs scored and leads the team with a 1.000 fielding percentage. Guiding the Bulldogs in her fourth season is head coach Diana Kendrick, who has produced a career record of 63-107 at the helm.
Scouting The Purple Aces: Evansville brings a 3-1 record into the Blues City Classic after opening the season last weekend at the Kennesaw State Tournament in Georgia. The Purple Aces posted wins over Miami [Ohio] (16-3), the host Owls (7-5) and Georgetown (10-2) before falling to Georgia Tech by a 7-5 margin in the championship game. Junior first baseman Brittany Herald is one of six Evansville players that is hitting over .350 on the year as she leads the team with a .583 batting average and seven hits. Herald has also produced a .667 on-base percentage. The Purple Aces are guided by 14th-year head coach Gwen Lewis, who has recorded a career record of 437-383-1.
Scouting The Bears: Central Arkansas heads into this weekend's games sporting a 5-5 record on the young season. The Bears, currently in their first season as an NCAA Division I program, finished second at their own UCA Spring Clash in Conway, Ark., last weekend that included close wins over Eastern Illinois (9-7) and Alabama A&M (10-9). Senior outfielder Amy Sperle paces UCA with a .429 batting average and a .529 slugging percentage, while posting 12 hits and five stolen bases. Junior Lyndsey Harris has tallied a 2-2 record with 18 strikeouts in 29 and one-third innings of work. Head coach Steve Kissel is currently in his second season with the Bears and has produced a 17-29 record.
Redhawks Picked Fourth In OVC Preseason Poll: Southeast was selected to finish fourth in the annual Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll that was released by the conference on Jan. 24. The Redhawks scored 51 points in the poll was comprised of the conference's 10 head coaches and sports information directors. Tennessee Tech, last year's OVC regular-season and tournament champions, were picked to repeat by claiming eight first-place votes and 79 points.
All-Conference Players Return For Southeast: The Redhawks welcome back four players who captured All-OVC accolades last season to this year's squad. Junior Megan McDonald claimed First Team All-OVC honors for the second straight year, while senior Lindsay Pickering and junior Michelle Summers were Second Team All-OVC honorees.
Home Run Queen Back For Another Year: Junior Michelle Summers was crowned Southeast all-time home run leader last season after tying the single-season record with 11 dingers. The Hoover, Calif., native has tallied 21 career homers and finished second on the team with a .324 batting average in 2006.
Up Next: Southeast heads to St. Louis next weekend for the All-Missouri Breast Cancer Tournament on the campus of Saint Louis University. The Redhawks open tournament play on March 3 with games against UMKC (Noon) and Missouri State (4 p.m.) before facing the host Billikens on March 4 at Noon.