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How Will the Arrest of Three Auburn Softball Players Affect Auburn’s Post-Season Play?

By on April 21st, 2017 in News, Other Sports 16 Comments »
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Haley Fagan is 4th on the team in batting average and tied for third with six homers (photo: AU media file)

Fresh off of an out-of- conference win against Kennesaw State, three Auburn softball players were arrested Thursday. The police responded to a call at an address on East Samford Street before arresting Haley Fagan, Makayla Martin, and Brittany Maresette at 12:47 a.m. on misdemeanor possession charges. All three are suspended indefinitely and did not travel with the team for the series against South Carolina. It is the first arrest for all three players 

The three were taken into custody just hours after Haley Fagan made her 44th start of the season as the Tigers’ starting shortstop, Martin earned her 16th win, and Maresette made her 17th appearance..

How will this affect the three players’ futures or Auburn’s post-season play? 

The first thing that should be said is that there is a chance the three will return, though the length of punishment will be the questionable issue. Auburn football’s John Franklin, III was arrested last year for the same offense and missed  only one game. Franklin is the Fagan’s current boyfriend.

While a third SEC straight championship was unlikely, a strong finish would possibly secure a position as host to the Regional and Super Regional tournaments.

Auburn is currently ranked 4th in the SEC behind Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M. Had the series against Tennessee not been canceled, the Tigers would likely be in the third spot. As many as thirteen SEC teams may make post season play, so being one of the top ranked teams was important, not only for seeding but for hosting. 

Auburn won’t immediately miss freshman outfielder Maresette, who as a pinch runner is second on the depth chart behind Bree Fornis. However, the absense of the other two could possibly sink Auburn’s chances at a run at the Women’s College World Series. 

As has been written before on Track ‘Em Tigers, Auburn’s offense isn’t what it was in its back to back SEC Championship runs. Instead, Auburn has won by leading the nation in double plays and being among the best inside the circle.

Kaylee Carlson (21-2) is the unquestioned ace on Auburn’s staff, but Makayla Martin has been very good as the usual second pitcher in the three-game series rotation. Carlson’s ERA of 1.26 isn’t much better than Martin’s 2.05, and the two are deadlocked with 88 and 87 strikeouts, respectively. 

Auburn’s bullpen has only two other possibilities for possible starters: long-time utility player Jenna Abbott and freshman Ashley Swindle. Abbott has been very good in her six appearances, but Swindle has struggled with a 3.82 ERA. Can Carlson handle additional innings, or will one of the two relievers have to step into the starting role? Either possibility dampens the chances of a championship. With Abbott pitching, Auburn will likely look to get Madi Gipson involved somehow.

While Auburn has a wealth of outfield options, there aren’t many options for the infield. Some one will likely have to step into an unfamiliar position.

Enter the other half of Auburn’s winning ways: double plays. Fagan is the centerpiece of Auburn’s defense and despite having the most balls hit her way, she is fielding at a .948 clip while turning 16 double plays this season. After a preseason injury to Fagan in 2016, Whitney Jordan started the entire season at shortstop. Fagan’s return moved Jordan into a starting role in the outfield but Jordan was simply woeful at the plate and she eventually lost her job. She has the second worst batting average on the entire team with a .121 against mostly non-conference foes. 

Kendall Veach will likely move from first base to the other corner to make room at first for Jenna Abbott when she is not pitching. Abbott has played first base on multiple occasions, and is the first player off the bench to hit, batting .370 in her 27 at-bats.

Kasey Cooper may move to shortstop, but here issue here is that Cooper does not have Fagan’s the speed or range, While she is efficient, she will give up a lot more than Fagan does. 

The loss of Fagan’s bat will certainly be missed as she is fourth on the team in batting average and tied for third with six homers. What will be the expected dropoff from Fagan to her replacement? 

While Auburn softball probably has seen the end of another championship run, the biggest loser has to be fifth-year senior Haley Fagan. Not only was graduation just a month away, but the National Pro Fastpitch draft was just four days away and she was expected to be a very high draft pick. 

Auburn takes on South Carolina tonight at 5:30 on SEC Network+.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @Best5Zach as I post live updates and commentary during this weekend’s series. 

16 Comments

  1. uglyjoe says:

    Zach, you follow softball a lot closer than I, and I’m not poo poo-ing your opinion, but you sure seem to be writing this team off too early, in my opinion. Seems to me we still have an excellent chance to get through regional and super regionals, and I would think its a whole new ballgame when we get to the CWS. We may not play and win like last year, but we are playing and winning. As for the three…….unfortunate and stupid, but at face value, I think they deserve the opportunity to pay their penance and get back to playing.

  2. digger4au digger4au says:

    I must say this is a shock to me , may not should be in this time and age but it is. They will have a tough time repeating last years run but they may surprise some people.

  3. AUglenn says:

    I know its still early but it didn’t hurt last night as Tigers got NCAA leading 8th shutout against South Carolina.

  4. AUFarmBoy AUFarmBoy says:

    I wonder if Martin might decide to head back home after this . In Alabama she gets arrested ,
    Hands cuffed , mug shot and jailed and some other kind of punishment to follow .

    In her home state , and a few others , she don’t get arrested at all . Today will tell how much
    we may or may not miss her pitching . But ….. stuff happens , we’ll just have to make due .
    This team has not looked like a world series team from the start anyhow . I would be surprised
    if we don’t lead the nation in leaving the bases loaded . Regardless of how many outs at the
    time . Hope for the best .

  5. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    Perhaps I am just preparing myself to be surprised. Low expectations.

    This is a very, very good team.

    Swindle took a large step forward today, but usc is not Bama, Florida, or even Kentucky.

    The batting differential between Fagan and Jordan is large. But, it just takes a player getting hot to take up the slack.

  6. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    Having just recently endured the funeral of a 26-year old son of a dear friend who died of a heroin overdose (needle still in his arm when he was found), I can’t understand why this world of ours condones ANY sort of drug usage, be it alcohol, marijuana, or narcotics of any sort. Colorado be damned!
    My friends, pot is where it starts. Much as I hate to say this, in my opinion all 3 of the girls need to be summarily tossed off the team and put into counseling.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..My guess is that these three will go through whatever protocol Auburn University has for these sorts of things. Once they get that worked out, they might be allowed back on the team. I’m guessing that Coach Myers does have the discretion to not allow that.

      …..I can bemoan betrayal of teammates, but I can’t throw too many stones beyond that point. I did ruinously stupid things at that age, too. Fortunately, I was not someone who was going to make the news, nor did I get caught by law enforcement. I wasn’t going to buy pot back then, but if someone passed me a lit joint at a party, I wasn’t going to say “no.”

      …..I could say that I raised my kids better, but that’s hubris. I was raised not to participate in such, as well. And I let my parents down in that regard. I hope these ladies get to go through whatever program Auburn has in place, and have an opportunity to get back to playing some awesome softball!

    • WDEGirl says:

      I am disappointed at the double standard treatment I have seen in statements here and on twitter, regarding what should or should not happen to these softball players. since this happened. I find it misogynistic.

      Nick Saban, Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer preach “2nd Chances” and “redemption” for football players, who have transgressions. Many Auburn Fans called for giving Art Briles a 2nd chance; a coach who let his players repeatedly rape and gang rape. ESPN and Brent Musberger defended Joe Mixon on National TV with the same call for 2nd chances and redemption. Joe Mixon will likely be drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft. Pro-Athletes have been involved in sexual assault, accessory to murder and participated in dog fighting and return to the field to pay their sport.

      While I do admit these 3 softball players committed a crime and were arrested for a crime, let’s put this in proper perspective. They did not assault anyone sexually or otherwise, they didn’t rape anyone, and they certainly did not break 4 bones in someone’s face.

      As has been previously stated, JF III served a 1 game suspension for a similar offense and Nick Marshal served a 1/2 game suspension for a similar offense. So why are people calling for 3 females to receive different and harsher punishment? It’s a double standard and misogynistic.

      These 3 athletes should be allowed back on the team. That has already been established as a precedent for the boys and should not be any different for the girls.

      • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

        …..You’re absolutely correct. As I said, the school has its policies, and those will be followed. Calling for these players to be banned or thrown off the team is a bit much.

      • Tiger Tiger says:

        WDEgirl, this reminds me of the “boy who cried wolf”, which is probably why I’ve stopped taking these convos seriously. And I took Haley’s side during the incident with the UF coach. But not this time.

        First, if you’re going to label someone as miso-whatever, at least define it so everyone’s on the same page, or at least knows where you’re coming from.

        Second, I hope you do realize that some Auburn fans would be ok with Joe Mixon being imprisoned for a long time, football players getting kicked off the team for using dope, and softball players getting kicked of the team for using dope.

        wpleagle, to whose comment you replied, recommended that all three softball players be kicked off the team. He said nothing of his views on what should happen to football players who do the same, so it is pretty ironic and humorous that you automatically assume him to have a double standard on this issue. Wolf, wolf!

    • AUFarmBoy AUFarmBoy says:

      First off … my condolences for the loss in death of your friend .
      I will have to disagree with you on throwing the girls off the team
      and ” putting ” them into counseling . I would also have to disagree
      with you on ” ANY sort of drug usage ” considering the fact that
      caffeine is a drug and I need my coffee . The worst drug problem in
      this Nation today is the narcotic and psychoptropic drugs that are
      manufactured legally and overly prescribed by various types of
      doctors , especially the opiates . They tend to find there way onto
      the streets along with the illicitly manufactured brands . Alcohol
      abuse is also a problem .
      But to lump Cannabis / Marijuana into the same category as a
      substance abuse withdrawal type addictive drug is just born from
      ignorance . I don’t know how these girls will turn out in life , but
      I do know that if they partake in an alcoholic drink on occasion or
      smoke a little weed on occasion …… it will not be the deciding factor .
      Of course in Alabama there is no occasion to legally smoke the weed .
      Or to drink if underage . Or to walk down the street buc naked .
      I salute the people who have never had an indiscretion or an error
      in judgment in their life …….. I wish I could say the same .
      I hope these young women make out alright in the future .

    • Tiger Tiger says:

      My views on dope continue to evolve. I’ve lost a lot of patience with it, and its active users, after personally observing two things:
      1 – that most active dope smokers turn into losers, in the long run.
      2 – the life of a kid on the street where I grew up, who was a childhood buddy but who started using dope and selling dope from his parents’ house. It was really great for the whole neighborhood, those two years of living next to a drug distributor, having out-of-state customers parking in his yard at all hours of the day and night, staring down my mom in her own front yard, yelling at whoever made eye contact with them. Really fantastic. I highly recommend living next to a weed salesman if you get the chance. Great people.

      • Tiger Tiger says:

        Fortunately for everyone, my former friend left his parents’ house, the customers quit dropping by, and the street is quiet again.

  7. […] play the Gamecocks over the weekend. Some dropoff in production in both the field and at the plate were expected, especially with Fagan’s […]