|Softball Hosts the Hatter Classic This Weekend|
The Stetson softball team begins a 14-game homestand this weekend as the Hatters host Bethune-Cookman, Dartmouth, and Florida A&M in the ninth annual Hatter Classic at Patricia Wilson Field. The tournament begins at 1:30 p.m. Friday with Dartmouth squaring-off against Bethune-Cookman. The Hatters will then face those same two teams respectively at 4 and 6:30 pm.
Stetson enters the weekend with a 2-5 mark after going 1-2 last weekend at the UCF Holiday Inn Select Tournament in Orlando. The Hatters are hitting .238 as a team with six home runs, but head coach Frank Griffin is hoping a switch at the top of the line-up helps kick-start the offense.
For the first five games of the season, junior Chrissy Morello batted in her familiar lead-off spot, while freshman Brittany Hawn backed her up in the number two-hole. During that stretch the pair were just 7-for-32 (.219) combined at the plate.
"I thought moving Chrissy to second (in the line-up) would take some pressure off of her," Griffin said. "She also has the ability to hit one over the outfielder's head or in the gap, and if Brittany's on base that's a run scored. Brittany often tries to just (put the ball in play) and get on base. I thought switching them might be an opportunity to score some more runs."
As a result Hawn batted lead-off and Morello batted second Saturday as the Hatters split a pair of games against Texas-Arlington and Buffalo. Both players went 3-for-7 on the day (.429) while Morello tripled and drove in a pair of runs against the Bulls.
"I was pleased with the result, although I am not sure switching them had anything to do with it," Griffin said. "They are starting to see some more at-bats now, it takes awhile to see the ball, and they are only going to get better. As a team we are only going to get better as we see more at-bats."
Hawn said she would bat wherever coach Griffin felt that it would best help the team, but that the role of the lead-off batter is a lot different that that of the two-hole hitter.
"As the first batter you have to have a different mindset," Hawn said. "You are the one that sets the tempo of the game, and I just told myself I needed to step up (Saturday). Coach Griffin was giving me an opportunity and I needed to show that I could get it done."
Hawn also said that she and Morello work very well together and their differences compliment each other well.
"Chrissy is so supportive of me," Hawn said. "She thinks having me bat first will help me gain some of my confidence back. We both help each other and we push each other to improve. We are both good at different things, so we work hand-in-hand and try to help each other get to the same overall level."
In addition to generating some more offense, Griffin is looking for his pitchers to continue to show improvement this weekend.
"I thought all of our pitchers did a good job this past weekend," Griffin said. "They are starting to feel more comfortable, and as they get more comfortable they are going to get more accurate, their spins are going to be better, and they will throw smarter pitches. I look forward to seeing that."
Live stats for all games and free live video for the Stetson games will available on GoHatters.com. Fans can also receive in-game updates by following @StetsonSoftball on twitter or subscribing to the Hat-Alerts text messaging system.
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