Fall Season Starts for Auburn Softball – (a preview of 2018 Tigers)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fall Season Starts for Auburn Softball – (a preview of 2018 Tigers)

Friday evening, the Auburn Tiger softball team took the field in exhibition games against Northwest Florida State Community College and Enterprise State Community College. The double header was the first of four. The next series will being this Friday afternoon against Wallace State and Chipola Community Colleges.
Obviously, the Tigers are playing teams completely outside of the (back-to-back Women’s College World Series) team’s weight class. Wins and losses aren’t the goal of the team that is experiencing its first major turnover since becoming nationally relevant.
The goal is to mesh a young team together with a new coaching staff. Each of the last two years, Auburn has lost veteran players that contributed both on the field and in the dugout with their leadership. Going into 2016, Auburn had to replace Morgan Estell. In 2017 it was Jade Rhodes, Emily Carosone, and Tiffany Howard. This year it is Kasey Cooper, Haley Fagan, Carlee Wallace and, of course, ex-coaches Clint and Corey Myers.
Questions surrounded the program over serious allegations of misconduct by the coaching staff led to a dismissal and a retirement. Also troubling was the departure of Carlee Wallace. “Clutch Carlee” was going to be the leader that would alleviate the growing pains of a team that faced the transition from hungry and unappreciated recruits to a young, highly touted, but unproven team.
Wallace was going to be the perfect glue for this team because she was the only player to see both sides. Wallace was Myers’ first major recruiting pull, coming all the way from California to be a part of a program that hadn’t accomplished a thing. She would be a buffer for a young team that faced the task of expectation. However, Wallace chose another path and transferred to Baylor.
Auburn fans turned out on Friday evening to get their first look at new coach Mickey Dean’s 2018 squad …

With so many veterans departures, it was expected that Taylon Snow would be a day one starter at shortstop, replacing the graduated Haley Fagan. It appeared that the return of her sister, Tannon, from an undisclosed illness that caused her to miss the entire 2017 season would move Kendall Veach from first base to perhaps catcher. After all, Veach played several exhibition games at catcher in the off-season. In addition Auburn would likely need a catcher to split duties with Courtney Shea, who as the designated hitter hadn’t been Auburn’s full time catcher.
While it was no surprise that Taylon Snow got the nod at shortstop, it was surprising to see her as the leadoff hitter. Victoria Draper slid behind Snow and retained her spot in center field. Kendall Veach remained at first base in the three hole with Alyssa Rivera batting clean-up.
As fans will recall, Rivera had an incredible freshman season when she supplanted Whitney Jordan in right field due to Jordan’s atrocious sub-.150 batting average. Rivera not only became an improvement, but became Auburn’s best hitter.
Courtney Shea started at catcher, hitting seventh while Tannon Snow was Auburn’s DP. None of these were surprises and all were expected to be in the lineup in some capacity.
Brittany Maresette earned a starting nod in left field. Maresette has frequently been Auburn’s pinch runner, but hasn’t been on the field in any real capacity in her young career.
Seeing Makenna Dowell earn the nod at second base was a surprise. Second base was a rotating door at times last season with KK Crocker and Casey McCrackin moving into and out of the lineup. McCrackin ended the year as the nominal starter, hitting .250 but committing nine errors (second most on the team). Dowell is one of the shortest players on the team and one of the talented freshman hailing from Suwanee, Georgia. She bats left and throws right. She was an elite recruit who hit over .300 all four years of high school.
Assistant coach Scott Woodward told that Makenna and Tayeon [Snow] “may be the best middle infielders defensively in the country.”
Stats weren’t kept for the exhibition and the Twitter feed (from Jenna Abbott) didn’t include any scores. But we do know that Alyssa Rivera has picked up where she left off with several extra base hits that included Auburn’s only homer of the night.
We’ll continue here at TET to follow and report on the team’s progress. The Tigers are back at Jane B. Moore this Friday.
The post Fall Season Starts for Auburn Softball – (a preview of 2018 Tigers) appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

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