It’s time to get rolling for the Charlotte 49ers softball team. Coach Aimee DeVos and her squad get it going on Friday afternoon at the First Pitch Classic, being held all weekend long at the Phillips Softball Diamond. Of course, it’s the final season for the ladies in the Atlantic 10 before moving to Conferene USA.
Charlotte welcoms utility player Courtney Carroll (Clemmons, NC) and Jessica Plemmons (Lexington, NC) to the team. It’s a small class, but double that amount will be coming in next year with the graduation of four seniors.
Sophomore Alex Rogers burst onto the scene in her freshman season last year en route to A-10 all rookie honors, leading the team in batting average (.313) and tied for the lead in hits (52). Right under her is senior all-conference and all-region selection Bri Gwaltney (.304), the power hitter who went yard 14 times (a single-season record) and is the team’s all-time leader in homers (28) with a chance to add to that in a big way in her farewell year. She also led the team in RBI (40) and total bases (104). Sophomore Sam Slade (4 HR) and senior Kalie Lang (3 HR) also have a little pop in their bats–with Lang hitting a grand slam in the Niners’ upset of #20 North Carolina on April 24.
The pitching remains the same–Lexi Betancourt, a sophomore, went 15-14 with a 2.93 ERA, while junior Katie Watkins was 13-12 with a 4.21 ERA–each had 27 starts. Sophomore Chelsea Lisikatos primarily saw time out of the bullpen last season (29.1 IP) and will likely hold that role again this year.
Scouting the Field
The First Pitch Classic features Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Presbyterian.
Wisconsin Badgers (34-19, 13-10 Big Ten in 2012)
Key Players: Whitney Massey (.358, 36 RBI); Maria Van Abel (.354); Molly Spence (7 HR); Cassandra Darrah (22-13, 2.27 ERA)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (40-16, 16-3 Big East in 2012; Big East runner-up; NCAA Regional participant)
Key Players: Amy Buntin (.360, 12 HR, 60 RBI); Kelsey Thornton (.348); Chloe Saganowich (.321); Katey Haus (8 HR); Laura Winter (29-11, 2.18 ERA)
Presbyterian Blue Hose (20-33, 8-13 Big South in 2012)
Saturday and Sunday, 2pm
Key Players: Jill McLean (.300); Morgan Durham (22 RBI, 19-21 SB)