NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State Softball team continues to eye the start of the upcoming season with preseason workouts. The Tigers will enter the season with 14 returners, mostly in the form of pitchers, catchers and outfielders. The 2018 infield will possess familiar faces that will look to solidify the positions on the dirt.
A year ago, Danica Gleason and Selena Crafton had a stronghold on the left side of the field, with Sarah Snell occupying second base. The departure of Gleason and Crafton, who combined for over 30 percent of the offense, will force head coach Andrea Browning into building a new unit.
Snell saw some time at shortstop in 2017 will move to the position permanently. The sophomore comes in as the top returning hitter at .233 with eight doubles. Snell finished with 16 runs, 10 RBI and 20 walks. The second year joins the first base combination of Megan Huppee and Erica O’Kane as the returners who played a majority of their time on the dirt last year.
Huppee earned the starting nod 30 times to O’Kane’s 18. Huppee collected five hits in 49 at bats with a double and a home run. The sophomore scored nine runs and drove in six. O’Kane also started 22 games as the designated player and amassed a .220 batting average with 11 runs, four doubles, a dinger and seven RBI. The junior also walked 13 times for a .303 on base percentage.
Casey Cox played in 36 games and started in 33, nine at second base, as she posted a .205 average with six doubles and 11 runs. The senior will work at second base with freshman Tassy Lyles and junior Maddison Clark. Cox who started 24 games in leftfield will provide depth in the outfield and could see time at third base.
Reese Weber is another candidate for the hot corner after starting 13 games at that spot a year ago. Weber notched six hits, including two doubles, in 40 at bats and drove in six. The sophomore will also receive competition from Cox and Huppee.
The Tigers hit the road in a week as they begin play at the Troy Invitational on Feb. 9.