Can’t wait for spring softball? Well, fans don’t have to spend the fall looking at an empty Draper Diamond. The Lady Bisons, who are in individual workouts at this point in the fall schedule, will be back on the field before the end of the month.
“The biggest thing for us in the fall is to get all of our players out on the field together,” said Lady Bisons coach Kristin Peck. “It is a new year. We know we have our entire starting lineup returning.
“Fall gives us a chance to see what our new players can do. Everyone is going to play this fall, and hopefully everyone will play a decent amount. We have to see what the new players can do in game situations without it counting against our won-loss record.”
The Lady Bisons plan to get some long looks at pitcher Katy Ayers, a redshirt freshman transfer from Florida International, and Ali Watson, a freshman pitcher from Bogart, Ga.
“We are going to be so much deeper on the mound which is a huge plus,” said Peck. “We had the top pitching staff in the conference numbers-wise as a team. We have added two big pieces to that which makes us more dynamic.
“Katy will impact our lineup. She has a year of college experience under her belt where she was able to learn and develop in a pretty good system. She is still learning about pitching and working on some consistency.
"Ali brings some diversity. She mixes in some pitches and works a different part of the zone from a lot of our pitchers. She has a lot of potential. She is going to keep getting better and better.”
Also expected to be tested are Emily Casey, a sophomore transfer from Syracuse, and Camille Cross, a freshman from Lebanon, Tenn. Both of them can catch as well as play in the outfield.
“Emily should also have an impact right away,” said Peck. “She runs pretty well. She is very strong. She will push Mollie Mitchell behind the plate. It is a little unique to have two players like Emily and Camille who can catch and also play in the outfield.”
Peck emphasizes that everyone will have chances to play in a variety of situations.
“We are going to be pinch-hitting a lot this fall,” said Peck. “We are going to be pinch-running a lot. We are going to try some things in game situations this fall more frequently than we might in the spring just to see if we can some things done.”
The Lady Bisons will travel to Cookeville Sept. 26 for a tournament at Tennessee Tech. They will face Motlow State at 1 p.m. and Northwest Shoals at 2.
The first 10 days of October will be a busy time for the Lady Bisons.
On Oct. 1 they will face the Lady Vols of the University of Tennessee in a doubleheader in Knoxville beginning at 4 p.m. CST.
Two days later the Lady Bisons will be at Draper Diamond for an almost full day of activities. The Lady Bisons Alumni Game will be played at 10 a.m. with a cookout immediately following the end of the game. The fall Purple/Gold Game will be played later in the day at 2.
The Lady Bisons will host Vol State in a doubleheader at 4 p.m. at Draper Diamond Oct. 7.
Trevecca Nazarene will visit Draper Diamond Oct. 10 for a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. to conclude the fall schedule.
“I want to beat UT this fall,” said Peck. “I want to beat all of the other teams we play this fall.
“It is hard for us to step back. But it is more important right now for us to give everyone a chance to play, build some confidence and test the waters.”