The Auburn Softball team will play their last home series this weekend, April 26-28 before completing the regular season at Arkansas next week. (photo: Auburn media file)
There is unrest brewing among dedicated Auburn softball fans following the latest disappointing series. Auburn came into the weekend ranked in the Top 20 with a 34–9 record. At 9–6 in the SEC, the Tigers were within striking distance of taking over the top place in the conference, which they accomplished for about 24 hours after winning the Tennessee series in Knoxville. At that point, Auburn had won three series while dropping just one to Georgia. Since then, however, Auburn hasn’t won a series. That disappointment was capped by being swept at Kentucky, which made even the most stalwart Auburn softball fan mystified and, frankly, angry.
I was astounded to read comments on social media referring to the “good ole’ days” under ex-coach Clint Myers, who was essentially run out of town after the fiasco embroiling assistant coach (and his son) Cody Myers. Fans are always quick to react though, and overreaction is a frequent part of fandom.
In the case of the softball Tigers, fans were talking negatively about a second-year coach who is missing his ace, Makayla Martin and likely will go into post-season play without his best pitcher. Yet, heading into Lexington, this was still one of the best teams in the country, regardless of whether or not it had lost two straight series. Most of the time, it wouldn’t be fair to judge a head coach in this situation, especially when following a coach who took Auburn to the top of the sport. Softball can be a streaky game, and there was nothing on the field this weekend that looked like a top program in contention for championships.
Unfortunately, the issues aren’t limited to missing the team’s best pitcher or giving up bunches of runs. There are certain things that have been visible during Mickey Dean’s tenure that were amplified in last weekend’s sweep. It isn’t always just the numbers but the game within the game.
Multiple times this weekend, Dean was either out-coached by Kentucky’s staff or by doing himself in. In the deciding game Auburn was clinging to a 2–1 lead in the second inning when the Kentucky base running advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. With one out, Dean elected to intentionally walk slugger Abbey Cheek instead of trying to force her into a bad hit or get her to chase bad pitches. Ashley Swindle then hung a meatball to Kentucky’s Martens on the first pitch, and Martens promptly smashed it to the scoreboard to put Auburn away.
Surely, one scenario doesn’t win or lose a series, but …
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From Auburn basketball’s final No.5 ranking after a Final Four finish to a look ahead for the Tigers without Jared Harper to softball rising to the top of the SEC to news about Spring practice and this week’s A-Day game and more in this edition of Ramblings.Read Full Story