The Stetson University softball team has officially wrapped up the fall portion of its schedule and now players and coaches have their sights set on the spring. The Hatters competed in two scrimmages as well as a number of intrasquad games, which gave veteran head coach Frank Griffin time to evaluate his team’s talent before winter conditioning and workouts begin.
“I was pleased with our progress during fall ball,” said Griffin, who is in his 18th season at the helm of the Hatter program. “We scored a lot of runs throughout the line-up which was good to see.”
One specific bat that came alive this fall was that of freshman outfielder Kelsey Waters, who went deep in her first trip to the plate, giving her coach optimism for her capabilities come the spring. Senior Sarah Read also homered in the Nov. 1 contest against Lake-Sumter.
Including Waters, the Hatters welcomed in a total of four newcomers to this year’s squad - three freshman and one junior college transfer in infielder Amanda Grimaldo, who Griffin says will compete for the starting job at shortstop.
The Hatters' skipper also took advantage of the opportunity to try some players at new positions. Demi Meza, last year's starting shortstop, played some second base in the fall while Kayla Drury, who started all 53 games at second in 2013, tried her hand at first base. In addition, freshman Jessie TenBroeck, a second baseman by trade, saw some time in the Stetson outfield.
“We have a lot of depth at every position,” Griffin explained. “I’m sure some of the players are a little uncomfortable with their new positions but I feel like with time and experience they’ll become comfortable with them.”
Griffin said he was very pleased with the performance of his pitchers in the fall. All four hurlers - Courtney Brandt, Taylor Cochran, Meredith Owen and Read - pitched well in each of the fall scrimmages.
“I thought our pitching did a good job," Griffin said. "They are working hard and they have all improved since last year."
Stetson is coming off a season in which they went 31-22 and set a program record with 45 home runs. Griffin’s crew will work on conditioning for the rest of the calendar year before returning in January to start practice.
The whole team has been working really hard in the weight room and when they get to the plate they are stronger,” Griffin explained. “This is a good group and they all seem determined to do the right thing and have the initiative to work on their own, so when they come back in January they are ready to go.”
The Hatters open up the 2014 campaign, Feb. 7-9, as they host Michigan State and Rhode Island in the Stetson Lead-Off Classic at Patricia Wilson Field.