NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The hits and misses of fall lay the foundation for expectations for a successful spring.
Every team has priorities and one of the main ones for the Lipscomb softball team is pitching. Veteran starters Tanner Sanders and Kelly Young are gone via graduation.
Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman, pitching coach Megan Smith and assistant coach J.J. Dillingham will be looking for answers in formulating an effective pitching strategy.
Ryman is excited about the freshman class, and two of the players are pitchers Megan Gray and Chloe Yeager.
They are joined by sophomore Mandy Jordan, junior Caitlin Plocheck and seniors McCarley Thomas and Taylor Neuhart on the staff.
“We are anticipating Megan throwing a decent amount this year,” Ryman said. “There is tweaking to do and a lot of learning taking place.
“Chloe has done some good things. She also hits. She could start or she could come in a reliever as we get closer to spring.”
Team practices don’t start until Tuesday. The Lady Bisons have four days to prepare for their first tests of the fall.
“We only have 17 players this year,” Ryman said. “I think during the course of the season all 17 players will contribute.
“I don’t know if all 17 are going to get a ton of playing time. But they all have strengths we want to utilize and where that starts is fall practice and fall games.”
Rounding out the freshman class are infielders Peyton Ward and Hannah DeVault and outfielder Abby White.
“I expect them not to act like freshmen,” Ryman said. “We want them to come in and do what they do. We want to polish them so they can be better. They have to be coachable for us to do that and they have been.
“I am very excited about this freshman class. We want to recruit freshmen who can play right away. They are very talented. At the end of the day they have to go out and play and trust in what they can do and trust in us as coaches to help get them there. We want them to be aggressive, not timid like freshman can sometimes play.”
Saturday at Draper Diamond Lipscomb will face Covenant College at 12:30 and Calhoun Community College at 3. Covenant and Calhoun open play at 10 a.m. The games played at Lipscomb and Tennessee State are known as the “Play 4 Tay” Tournament, for the “Live 4 Tay” Foundation that raises awareness of childhood cancer. Donation buckets will be provided at the games.
“I would prefer to have a couple of weeks to get ready rather than four days, but it is the fall,” Ryman said. “The players are excited and raring to go. We are anxious to get them out there and see where they are.
“We have seen some good things from the individual work we have been doing. We want to see how they jell as a team. To some degree we just want them to go out and play.”
The remainder of the fall schedule:
At Draper Diamond
Saturday, Oct. 1
11 a.m. Lipscomb vs. Belmont
1:30 p.m. Lee vs. Belmont
4 p.m. Lipscomb vs. Lee
Wednesday, Oct. 5
5 p.m. Lipscomb vs. Trevecca
Wednesday, Oct. 12
5 p.m. Lipscomb vs. Union
Away at Tennessee State
Saturday, Oct. 8
Noon Lipscomb vs. Campbellsville
2 p.m. Lipscomb vs. North Alabama