|Falecia Collier/Herd Team gathers before the game.|
So without further delay, let's play ball!
Marshall Softball is rolling after a 3-1 weekend in Greenville, N.C. at the East Carolina Pirate Snow Invitational and is 8-1 overall this season. Here is the craziest part of this year's team, they have had one, maybe two games they have hit the ball to the expectations. How is the Herd 8-1 you ask, lights out pitching by sophomore Jordan Dixon and spectacular defense every game. Do not read into the shortcoming of the offensive expectations as several players are off to a hot start, but the big hit and more importantly, the timely hits have been far and few between. Either way Coach Shonda Stanton's club is out to one of its best starts since she took over the program.
Through the first two weekend's, Marshall's 3-1 loss to Towson is the only blemish on the resume. But how can a team that took 27 games last season to capture eight wins do it in only nine games this season? One word easily answers that question, defense.
|Falecia Collier/Dixon works in the circle for the Herd.|
However, that is just the beginning as this season the defense resembles that of the 2013 team that appeared in the NCAA Regionals in Lexington, KY giving the pitching staff some much needed backup.
|Falecia Collier/ Braxton slides into 3rd.|
|Dave Myslenski/Howard works at|
short for the Herd.
|Falecia Collier/ D'Orazio fields|
at 2nd for the Herd.
|Dave Myslenki/ Myslenksi|
ready at 1st for the Herd.
tor. Rebecca Myslenski has shown to be the front runner for the Herd after bouncing back from a knee injury that slowed her last season. The sophomore has anchored the position with few mistakes while adding a nice stick to Stanton's lineup. While she works to learn the intricate details of the position, she has been rewarded with great defense to back her up after a miscue. Not to mention her presence at the plate has been a much needed stick in the bottom half of the order.
Providing backup to Myslenski are Alyssa Woodrum and Raquel Escareno. Woodrum has appeared in two games while working in pinch-hit duties in others. Escareno has worked at both first base and right field but has found herself on the outside looking in due to a quiet start at the plate. After a slow start at the plate in Charleston, S.C., the junior found some pop off the bat to open the tournament at ECU.
|Dave Myslenski/ Lucas touches home|
after going yard in Charleston, S.C.
|Falecia Collier/ McCord looks for|
|Falecia Collier/ Zerkle with a bunt hit for the Herd.|
|Dave Myslenski/ Greene|
at the plate.
Starting her senior season as a utility player for the Herd, Cooper earned a spot in the lineup card with a solid performance in the Charleston Challenge. Cooper continued her hot start in Greenville adding a multi-resourceful stick at the plate. Mix that with the speed she adds gives Stanton another tool for her aggressive style of play on the bases.
|Dave Myslenski/ Cooper fires up|
the team after a hit.
With everything mentioned above its hard to believe that Stanton could have anything left, but as the late night infomercial says, "But waits there's more!"
Senior Kristina Braxton provides Stanton a solid option in the outfield and a left-handed stick off the bench to pinch hit. Braxton does a great job providing senior leadership in a utility role for this team and while bring gap-to-gap power to the plate.
Step inside Stanton's stable of utility players and one will find freshmen Jordan Calliflower and Madi Marshall who offer good speed as pinch runners off the bench. Stanton also has Marissa Bethke inside the circle who is trying to find her way along in her first season with the Herd. The righty has Dixon like pop on her delivery but has struggled to find the zone in her two outings this season. Should she find that command, Stanton may feel like Christmas came early this year with three viable options inside the circle.
|Dave Myslenski/ Fowler|
works in the circle.
This team has All-American talent planted right here in Huntington and wearing green and white. Stanton has shown she is not afraid to take on any level of talent with her non-conference scheduling each season in preparation for another run in May in hopes of another championship. But this season, expectations are much higher for Stanton, calling this team "special" several times this season. Stanton has said several times this season the most difficult thing for her and the staff is properly managing this team with all the talent that is available. Sounds like a great problem to have considering 12 of the 21 members are underclassmen.
Sounds like Stanton has poured a solid foundation to not only take CUSA by storm but the nation as well. The expectations are there now its time to answer the call.
Starting 8-1 this season sounds like a nice hello.