Softball Excited to Kick Off 2014 Season
WILMORE, Ky. – With the current trend in weather the Eagles could be inching closer to starting their season off sooner rather than later, and coach Samantha Demartine and the 2014 version of the Eagles couldn’t be any more ready to step foot on the field for the first time.
As it currently stands the Eagles are set for the first pitch of 2014 to be thrown one week from today, February 25th here in Wilmore as they host St. Catharine College (Ky.) in a double header. Two days later they travel to Barbourville, Ky., to take on the Bulldogs from Union College (Ky.).
Here’s a look at the 2014 squad:
Pitchers and Catchers
The Eagles will again rely heavily on the arms of both Summer Ratliff and Ashley Brunty. Ratliff returns to the Eagles after last season’s 7-12 record. She picked up four shutout wins and appeared in 22 games for the Eagles.
Brunty is a new addition to the Eagles’ roster, coming in from West Jessamine H.S. She will look to pick up where departed pitcher Maris Harreld left off. Herald’s team leading 11 wins is gone and coach Demartine believes Brunty will help in that aspect.
“Our momentum and heartbeat come from both Summer and Ashley,” coach Demartine said. “They are prepared to face any challenge that lies ahead and are very intelligent in the circle.”
As for the players who will be on the opposite side of the plate, the Eagles will count on sophomore Kateland Hunter and freshman Kendall Anderson.
Last season, Hunter played in 43 of the Eagles’ 42 games collecting 13 RBIs and batting .242 on the season. She picked off eight runners last season from behind the plate. Anderson is another of Demartine’s West Jessamine products on the Eagles’ roster this season.
“Kendall and Kateland have become the backbone of our team and have really stepped up in their roles as leaders this offseason,” added Demartine. “I’m excited to see what they can do this season.
Around the Diamond: Infielders
The Eagles are fairly young at the infield position, with five out of the six infielders returning from last season. Demartine feels that the chemistry to the players developed last season will only add to their success playing with each other in 2014.
AnnaBeth Hill and Madi Adair lock down the returning hitting from the infield as Hill led the Eagles in batting average and on-base-percentage (OBP) last season at .331 and .396, respectively. Both players fielding percentage was above .900 last season as well.
“We are going to rely on the infielders for consistency and perseverance every game this season,” Demartine noted. “With five of six of our infielders being returners, I think this could be a good season all around for them.”
Beyond the Diamond: Outfielders
“Our outfielders are determined to be the best outfield group in the conference and will give it their all on every play,” Demartine said. “There is a lot of leadership out there and a great connection between the three of them.”
“They will definitely help keep us in a ball game as they have really improved from last year.”
Leading the outfielders is returner Julie Jarboe. Jarboe matched teammate AnnaBeth Hill in batting percentage from a year ago (.331) and knocked in a team-high 27 RBIs. Her 10 doubles were also a team high and looks to continue to lead the Eagles in the batter’s box this season.
Kendall Anderson also plans to see some time in right field beside Jarboe in center.
A look at the schedule
As always, the season is marked full of KIAC conference double-headers. KIAC games are prime contests to look toward in knowing whether or not the Eagles are turning the corner in seeking a KIAC championship.
The KIAC season starts early in March with a four-game series at Brescia on March 7th and 8th. Two big conference matchups here at home include double-headers against Midway (March 20th) and IU-Southeast (April 4).
The Eagles will start the season with 12 out-of-conference games with the likes of Union (Ky.) and Taylor University (Ind.).
Coverage this season
The Eagles’ home contests are gearing up to feature live statistics for all games. To follow games, please visit AsburyEagles.com on gameday for links to live coverage. In addition to live stats, live video of select home games will be available as well. Again, stay tuned to AsburyEagles.com for all links for live coverage.
Links to live coverage for away contests, when provided, will be linked at AsburyEagles.com.
Stay up to date with Asbury Athletics and all things Asbury Softball related on social media as well – Twitter (@AsburyEagles), Facebook (Asbury Eagles), and now on Instagram (@asburyeagles).