Softball 2014 Season Preview

2014 YSU Softball
2014 YSU Softball

The memory of falling one game short of a Horizon League Tournament Championship and a berth in the NCAA Regional Tournament is one that the members of the Youngstown State won't forget. But as the 2014 season approaches, the Penguins are proud of their accomplishment and hope to build more memories and achieve more success.

The Penguins have a core of five seniors returning from that tournament runner up team, but an influx of nine newcomers and a total of 11 underclassmen provide many opportunities and several questions.
 
"We have a solid group of seniors that have plenty of experience playing at this level," Head Coach Brian Campbell said. "Those players are going to have to step up and provide leadership to our younger players, and make big plays in clutch situations."
 
Those seniors include pitcher Casey Crozier, infielders Sarah Ingalls, Haley Knight and Samantha Snodgrass, and outfielder Courtney Ewing.
Crozier, an All-Horizon League Second-Team and All-Tournament pick, led the Penguins with a 16-10 record, 145 strikeouts and a 2.27 earned-run average.
Snodgrass, an All-Horizon League First-Team pick, batted a team-best .361 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 22 runs batted in. Snodgrass also posted an OPS of .962 last season.

Pitchers
Crozier headlines a quartet of arms that will see action in the circle this season.

Crozier has been one of the best pitchers in school history and has the chance to break the all-time wins and strikeouts records. She has 369 career strikeouts in 483 innings pitched with 41 career victories. She ranks second all-time in strikeouts and needs just 18 more strikeouts to break the school's all-time record. Crozier also ranks third all-time in wins and needs six more to break the school's all-time victories record.

Junior Kayla Haslett, a 2012 All-Newcomer Team selection, struck out 37 in 58 innings last season, and picked up eight wins during her freshman season.

Sophomore Chancy Williams and freshman Caitlyn Minney are also expected to see time in the circle this season.

Catcher
One of the biggest questions for the Penguins is behind the plate. After losing four-year starter Vicky Rumph to graduation, the Penguins will look to freshmen Maria Lacatena and Alexandria Gibson to fill that void.

Lacatena, from Stanhope, N.J., set the single-season records for highest batting average (.584), most home runs (5) and tied for most doubles (10) as a junior. She owns the school's career home runs (12) and doubles (33) records.

Gibson, a native of Fremont, Calif., batted .450 with an on-base percentage of .575 as a senior and is a two-time first-team all-conference selection.

Infield
The cornerstone of the Penguins' infield is Snodgrass, who is returning for her fourth season at the hot corner.

Ingalls, who batted .263 with four home runs last season, is slated to play at first base full-time after platooning there and at the designated player slot the last three seasons.

The middle infield will have new faces when the season starts. Knight, who was named to the All-Tournament Team last season, and freshman Brittany Moffatt are both slated to see action at second base.

Sophomore Miranda Castiglione, probably the most versatile player on the team, was named to the Canadian Junior National Team in the summer of 2013 and is expected to take over shortstop duties. Castiglione batted .283 and drove in 18 runs with three home runs last season. Castiglione may also see some time at third base and first base.

Newcomer Katie Smallcomb is also expected to see time at shortstop.

Outfield
Ewing, who batted .307 with 10 doubles last season, will anchor the outfield in center for the second straight season.

Both corner outfield spots are up for grabs between sophomore Jordan Macey, and freshmen Darcella Blakey, Sarah Dowd and Alexa Schmidt.
 
The Penguins open the 2014 season against Towson, Friday, Feb. 7, at 11 a.m. at the USC-Upstate Tournament.
Softball 2014 Season Preview
February 5, 2014 Softball 2014 Season Preview