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Softball opens season at Baylor tournament

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Softball opens season at Baylor tournament

The Arkansas Razorback softball team opens its 2012 campaign with a road trip to Waco, Texas to play in the Getterman Classic hosted by Baylor University.

The Razorbacks will face five teams over the course of the weekend beginning with Belmont on Friday at 10 a.m. The other four teams include UTA, also on Friday at 1 p.m., Iowa on Saturday at 10 a.m., No. 7 Baylor the same day at 12:30 p.m. and finally wrapping up the weekend with Wichita State on Sunday at 11a.m.

Arkansas head softball coach Mike Larabee and the Razorbacks are fueled up and ready to take on the 2012 season at full force. In his third year at the helm, Larabee returns 12 players from the 2011 squad, while also adding 12 new faces.

"I think we are all starting to come together as a team," Head Coach Mike Larabee said. "This team is very hungry to show how hard they have worked in the off-season."

In the circle, the Razorbacks return two highly experienced juniors, Chelsea Cohen and Hope McLemore. The co-captains combined for a total of 129 innings pitched while collecting 89 strikeouts and six wins. Joining the pitching staff this season will be freshmen, Kimmy Beasley, Victoria Brown and Ciara Clampitt. Beasley, named Gatorade’s Arkansas Softball Player of the Year in 2011, helped her high school team to four state championships. Brown is also not a stranger to high accolades, being the youngest participant to try out for the US Olympic Team in 2006.

This season the infield will be comprised of a mixture of last year’s experienced squad and the talented newcomers. Chloe Oprzedek a sophomore shortstop, returns; being the only Razorback to start and play in all 52 games from the 2011 season. Oprzedek tallied 89 putouts and 98 assists in her inaugural season.

Junior college transfer, Clarisa Navarro will increase the depth in the infield for the 2012 season. Last season for Butler Community College, the standout infielder batted .421 and led her team in hits and doubles. Another key addition to the 2012 squad is freshman Katie Harrison. Harrison, an Indiana native, was named an ESPN RISE second-team All-American honoree in her senior season. Other key returners in the infield include sophomores Jennifer Rambo and Jayme Gee.

The outfield returns one of only two seniors on the team, Tori Mort. The centerfielder had 72 putouts with just one error in 2011. At the plate she combined for 14 runs and 10 RBI with a .294 batting average. Joining Mort, will be a mixture of sophomore Amanda Geile, junior Linnea Ketcher and freshman Devon Wallace.

Larabee has also added a new face to the coaching staff for the 2012 season. Assistant and pitching coach, Coy Adkins joins the team from the University of Florida where he served a two-year stint as the volunteer coach for the Gators.

The softball team’s first game against Belmont will take place Friday at 10 a.m. in Waco, Texas. Live stats and the live blog will be available during the game. A full recap and complete stats will be posted online following the game.

For more information on Razorback softball or University athletics, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Softball