The St. Catharine College Lady Patriots softball team will use experience to find success in 2014.
The St. Catharine Lady Patriots are hungry to hit the diamond in 2014 after just missing the 2013 Mid-South Conference Tournament. The Lady Patriots finished the 2013 season with a 22-30 record and a 9-21 mark in the MSC, but fell just short of making the eight team field for the conference tournament. Here is what Head Coach Holly Smith, going into her 10th season here at SCC had to say about last season’s outcome. “We had every opportunity to make the tournament. The wins received by other teams due to a school forfeiting the remainder of their season, defiantly played a role in our not advancing, however again, we had our chances and we put ourselves in that position. It’s never fun when your fate rests in what other teams do.” With the 2013 season in the mirror, the Patriots will have to face the gargantuan task of replacing Hagan Goldey (Lancaster, Ky.), a two time first team all-conference award winner. Goldey not only led the Patriots and the MSC in batting average (.470) and stolen bases (28 total, .54 per game), but she ranked 14th in the nation for her batting average and 19th for stolen bases. “Hagan will defiantly be missed in many ways; at the plate, on the field, in the classroom and just as a leader on our team. She was a hardnosed player and that will be what I miss the most and what will probably be the hardest thing to replace.” In addition to Goldey, the Patriots lost Chelcie Rein (Louisville, Ky.) and Ashely Hardin (Louisville, Ky.). Rein, who batted .370 and knocked in 28 RBI’s on nine home runs, played right field for the Patriots in 2013 while Hardin filled a pitching and outfield role.
The Lady Patriots will look to fill the shoes of their lost parts with a wealth of experience; the Patriots return 11 players to their roster, one of which is 2013 All-Mid-South Conference second team member Brandi Hood (Bardstown, Ky.). Hood had another breakout season for the Patriots as she batted .407 with 28 runs batted in for the Patriots. Hood will spend most of her time in centerfield for the Patriots, surrounded by returners Hillary Dwyer (Cheyenne Wells, Colo.) and Emily Fenwick (Lebanon, Ky.). Dwyer spent most of her time during the 2013 season mastering the task of being a slap hitter and sharing time with Hardin and Fenwick in left field. However, Smith admits that there are no guaranteed spots in the outfield line up as freshmen Jessie Crouch (Lawrenceburg, Ky.) and Tiffany Wickline (Georgetown, Ky.) have caught the coach’s eye. “Jesse had a phenomenal fall for us and should be able to make an impact early. Tiffany is just a hard working kid that will split time between the mound and the outfield; she will probably start the season as our number two in the pitching rotation.”
The Patriot pitching stable could be a force to be reckoned with in 2014 as the Patriots return two starters to a rotation that will look to come of age as the season progresses. On top of the class junior Krystal Cammuse (Frankfort, Ky.), who spent a portion of the 2013 season injured, kept hitters at bay for most of the season as she posted an opponents’ batting average of only .280 and a team leading 86 strikeouts in her 99.1 innings of work. “Krystal worked hard this summer to get healthy and get back on track following her surgery last season. She looks better now then she ever has for me.” Following Cammuse in the rotation will be a combination of returner Brittany McKee (Somerset, Ky.) and newcomers Wickline and Davelynn Day (Penrose, Colo.). The hard throwing McKee saw action in 91.2 innings in 2013 for the Patriots and held batters at bay with 58 strikeouts. Junior transfer Day, will look to rebound after playing much of her 2013 season at Lamar Community College in Lamar, Colorado injured. The lone freshman of the group, Wickline, could make an immediate impact with her ability to control pitches and attack batters in the lower half of the zone. “This summer we changed our pitching format and implemented it in the fall this season. We have been extremely hard on our pitching staff thus far. They seem to be responding well and look better than ever before.”
The Patriot infield will be led by returners Taylor Steff (Louisville, Ky.), and Shelbi Thornhill (Hardinsburg, Ky.). Steff, the only four year player for the Patriots, will spend much of her year manning the second base position, position that she has held down for three years and posted a .944 fielding percentage in 2013. Thornhill will spend much of her season filling the first base position and playing the role of the designated hitter. In addition, Dwyer could see some time at first base or at the shortstop position during the 2014 campaign in order to fill the roster for in certain pitching situations. Newcomer, Day, will have the task of replacing Hagan Goldey at short stop in 2014, while McKee will see time at third when not on the mound and Cammuse, the patriots ace pitcher, will split time on the corners at first and third when not pitching.
The most interesting battle of the fall has been the battle for the catching position; in 2013 the Patriots were left without a catcher until Kelsey Brooks (Bardstown, Ky.) stepped to the plate and filled the role for the season. With the new addition of Ramie Goldey (Lancaster, Ky.), the Patriots seemed to have solidified the position. However, Brooks may have been the replacement in 2013, but has shown a great deal of improvement over the fall. “Kelsey has really stepped up and taken ownership of the catching position. Whoever gets the start at this position will have to earn it every game.”
The Patriots will begin their quest for an MSC crown on February 16th when the travel to Brescia with their first conference game looming on February 28th when they host the University of Pikeville at Salt River Electric Field.