NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Softball in the fall is an audition of sorts, especially for the newer players on the roster.
The performances of October determine roster depth heading into the spring season. Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman got a good look at most of her players in a variety of positions over 16 innings of softball in a doubleheader with Belmont this past Saturday.
This Saturday the Lady Bisons travel to Hendersonville where they will play a pair of games at Drakes Creek Park facing Roane State at 11:30 and Martin Methodist at 1:30. There is a $5 admission charge for adults. Elementary school children will be admitted free.
“Everybody that is healthy played against Belmont and played a decent amount, especially defensively,” Ryman said. “We saw some good combinations we really liked defensively.
“So much of it in the spring comes down to can you play the position defensively, but also can you hit. Our goal is to find a way to get our nine best hitters on the field each day who will give us a chance to win. There are a lot of things that factor into putting together a line-up on game day.”
Offensively, Ryman liked the discipline she saw from her hitters.
“We weren’t chasing pitches out of the zone,” Ryman said. “There were not many strikeouts overall.”
The newcomers are all active in trying to earn playing time. Several of them impressed at the plate as well as on the field.
“Abby Fenichel really stood out offensively,” Ryman said. “I thought she did some really good things at the plate.
“She doubled in her first at bat. Then Belmont adjusted to her, but she adjusted back to them. It was a little bit of a chess match going on. But the fact that as young as she is, and she made those adjustments and continued to make them into game two, says a lot about her maturity at the plate as a freshman.”
Defensively, Fenichel saw playing time at both catcher and third base.
Riley Brown hit a home run in her first at bat against Belmont. Ryman is looking for power, but also consistency from Brown.
“We are working with her on her swing,” Ryman said. “She comes to practice and works on things every day.
“She certainly has the power. But she has to make sure her swing is consistent every single time. She has to have the confidence to pull the trigger on a good pitch.”
Ryman also saw some good things offensively from Caitlin Plocheck.
“From a results standpoint she didn’t get what she wanted or what we wanted from her against Belmont,” Ryman said. “It is a matter of working through the transition of being a hitter on the college level. She has a very bright future offensively.
“She just goes up and hacks. She is going to get her money’s worth with her swing. She is going to have some productive outs.”
Laura Dukes, a transfer from Middle Tennessee with one year of eligibility left, saw time behind the plate defensively and also impressed on offense.
“She has three walks on the day and got hit with a pitch,” Ryman said. “She also had three singles. She is going to be that type of hitter that opponents are not going to want to see at the plate in crucial moments.
“She has a ton of power. She crushed a few that were just foul. The thing that is cool with her is she is not going to swing and miss a whole lot. She is very disciplined and very patient.”
Baylee Williams, a JUCO transfer from Chattanooga State, is also expected to be stronger at the plate than she was in the Belmont doubleheader.
“She is still learning,” Ryman said. “She is going to have to adjust a little bit more because the competition is better. She is learning quickly.
“She did a real nice job defensively at second base. Offensively, she can be a little spark. She has home run power, but I think we are going to see more doubles out of her. She runs well. She could be a doubles machine. It is just a matter of her tweaking some things.”