|Plenty of Talented New Faces Added to Penguins 2005 Roster|
|Monday, February 14 2005|
|Youngstown – When the 2005 season commences against Dayton on Feb. 26 at the Eastern Kentucky Tournament, the Youngstown State softball team will have quite a new look on the diamond. After all, of the 20 players listed on the roster, nine are playing in their first season with the Penguins.
Sixth-year Head Coach Christy Cameron, however, is no stranger to large recruiting classes. In 2001, Cameron added eight players to the squad, which included 2003 Horizon League Player of the Year Amanda Berry, and began the resurrection of the YSU softball program.
Although almost half of the 2005 team is comprised of newcomers, 11 letterwinners also return for the Penguins from last year’s 29-22 team.
“It is a good thing that we have a good mix of veterans and newcomers” Cameron said. “The older kids are really helping the younger ones become acclimated to the college game.”
Cameron, who has tallied 65 victories over the last two seasons, also plans to take advantage of the squad’s versatility and depth.
“We have more options than last season,” Cameron said. “They’ve had enough work at other positions that we can bump people around or shuffle the lineup if needed.”
The Youngstown State pitching staff is arguably the most fortified and talented group in the program’s history and again will be a key unit in the team’s success this season.
“We have four solid pitchers this season, but they all bring something different to the team,” Cameron said.
Leading the staff is 2003 Horizon League Pitcher of the Year and 2004 All-Horizon League Second-Team selection Kelly Murphy. The junior right-hander from North Olmsted, Ohio, is YSU’s all-time strikeout leader and posted 14 victories with a 1.46 earned-run average a year ago.
Sophomore Karlie Burnell, who was named to the 2004 Horizon League All-Newcomer squad, collected nine victories and a 1.88 earned-run average.
Cameron has also been impressed by senior Ashley Lockmiller and sophomore Tricia Hilbish.
“Ashley and Tricia both had good fall seasons for us and are working hard,” Cameron said. “What I’m looking for in all of our pitchers is consistency.”
Lockmiller finished the 2004 campaign with a 3-2 mark while Hilbish was a perfect 3-0 during last season.
The Penguins’ middle infield remains intact with two-time All-Horizon League First-Team selection Tiffany Patteson at shortstop and three-year starter Char Kudlock at second base.
However, there are two voids to fill at both corner infield slots with the departure of Amanda Berry at first base and Lacey Reichert, a second-team all-region selection in 2004, at third base.
“Obviously we are very solid up the middle with Tiff and Char and have a couple of holes to fill at first and third,” Cameron said. “But at the same time, we have some talented players that will fill those spots.”
Senior Kiisha Warfield and freshmen Becky Hibner and Sarah Conklin are battling for the time at first base.
Warfield batted .227 last season while Hibner was named second-team all-state and Conklin garnered Honorable Mention All-Ohio as seniors in high school.
Kudlock, who has played in 148 straight games at either second base or shortstop, batted .255 last season with five home runs and is slated to start at second base. First-team All-Ohio pick freshman Kelli Sheibley and junior college transfer Lacy Hess have also been working out at second base. Hess, who may also see time at third base, was a two-year letterwinner and an all-region selection at Odessa College in Texas.
Last season, Patteson recorded a .352 batting average and hit .396 against Horizon League opponents and is slated to start at shortstop.
Probably the most contested slot is at third base where Hess, freshman McKenzie Bedra and Sheibley are all battling for a starting nod at the hot corner.
Bedra was a first-team all-state pick and set the school records for most home runs, extra-base hits, batting average and slugging percentage at Bowling Green High School.
Four different players could be calling pitches and guarding the dish for the Penguins in 2005. Sophomore Codi Bise, who redshirted last season, freshmen Sarah Berry, Jamie Fornal and Bedra could all see time behind the plate.
Bise belted five home runs during her freshman campaign in 2003 while batting .216 with a .402 slugging percentage. Berry and Fornal were both high school standouts and possess the athleticism to play other positions.
Leading the way at the designated player position is Warfield, who started all 51 games at the DP in 2004. Freshman Shauna Barry, who also could see time in the outfield, and any of the catchers listed previously could fill this role.
Barry, who played summer ball for the Oregon Panthers Gold and led her summer squad with a .419 batting average and a .516 slugging percentage, was a third-team All-Oregon selection.
Patrolling the outfield for the Penguins in 2005 is a cast of fleet-footed veterans and gifted rookies.
Junior Lacy Bronson, who started all 51 games last season, is penciled in as the starter in left field. Bronson batted .235 overall but hit .333 against Horizon League opponents. Also joining Bronson in left field is senior Erin Moore and sophomore Megan Bricker. Moore, who can also play in right field, batted .320 against the Horizon League.
Freshman Bethany Hafley played center field for the Penguins during the fall season and is listed in the same slot for the spring. Hafley lettered four-times at Canton Glen Oak High School and competed at the 18-and-under American Softball Association Nationals in Broken Arrow, Okla.
If not at the designated player slot, Shauna Barry, along with Moore and Bricker, may see time in right field.
The 2005 Penguins are young but have a solid nucleus of returners to help ease the transition to the college game.
Once again, pitching and defense are the major strengths for the Penguins, but their potentially high-explosive offense and versatile and deep roster are components for an exciting softball season.
|Penguins Picked Third in Horizon League Softball Preseason Poll|
|Monday, February 7 2005|
|Indianapolis, Ind. – Youngstown State has been predicted to finish third in a preseason poll conducted by the Horizon League's softball head coaches, the league office announced on Monday.
The Penguins received 33 points and were picked behind preseason favorite Illinois-Chicago with 49 points and Cleveland State, which garnered 41 points.
Youngstown State finished one point ahead of fourth-place Loyola (32 points) while Butler (27 points), Wright State (16 points) and Detroit (14 points) were predicted to place fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.
UW-Green Bay rounds out the poll in eighth place with 12 points.
Youngstown State, which finished the 2004 season with a 29-22 record, opens the 2005 campaign against Dayton and IUPUI on Feb. 26 at the Eastern Kentucky Tournament.