Auburn Softball News and Notes
It was a busy weekend for the Auburn softball team as they played an astounding four games in two days at Jane B. Moore Field. Fans showed up for the free exhibitions to see the new look Auburn Tigers against Chipola and Wallace State Community Colleges on Friday and a doubleheader against Valdosta and Snead State on Saturday.
The exhibitions weren’t televised, and stats were not made available, but combing through the articles released by AuburnTigers.com and various tweets from the Auburn Softball Twitter feed give some insight into how the team is shaping up under new coach Mickey Dean.
The weekend started early for Auburn’s three seniors, catcher Courtney Shea, center fielder Victoria Draper, and ace pitcher Kaylee Carlson, who were treated to dinner by Auburn AD Jay Jacobs. The three seemed to enjoy their dinner with the athletics head man. But one can’t help but wonder what was said, if anything, about Auburn’s very public falling out with previous head coach Clint Myers and the mess he left.
That dinner had two fewer members than otherwise due to the departure of Whitney Jordan and Carlee Wallace. Jordan is finishing her degree at Auburn while Wallace will finish her career at Baylor. What is interesting is that the supposed disagreement between Jordan and ex-coach Myers over her availability to practice versus taking specific classes is the reason she left the team. But there hasn’t been any talk of her return to the program due to a change in philosophy by the new head coach.
According to sources, this year’s team has responded well to the new coaching staff. “I think we’re looking good,” junior infielder Casey McCrackin told AuburnTigers.com. “We’re adapting to the new coaches very well and their style of teaching.”
And it’s also apparent Dean loves coaching these girls. After Saturday’s games the skipper said, “I thought we pitched really well. We played good defense and turned a couple of double plays. I thought we also ran the bases pretty well.”
Auburn also hit the ball well. After just a single home run by Alyssa Rivera last week, the Tigers hit the long ball multiple times Friday night as Justus Perry and Tannon Snow fired dingers over the wall.
On Saturday Rivera hit another homer while Courtney Shea had multiple hits and KK Crocker added a triple. However, the story of the day was Auburn’s elite pitching, which tossed up 23 K’s in 14 innings of work.
Auburn set a low in strikeouts last season under Myers. These were 283 and 286 in 2015 and 2016, respectively, but fell to 239 in 2017, although the staff was able to get K’s when it mattered. This year’s staff will continue to build with Ashlee Swindle having had a season to mature behind Auburn’s aces. Chardonnay Harris, a freshman from Illinois, made her debut in the circle for Auburn. The 5′ 10″ lefty adds yet another dimension to one of the nation’s deepest pitching staffs and contributed to a no hitter in Auburn’s first game Friday night.
Auburn ends fall ball on October 29 with matchups with Central Alabama Community College at 1:30 p.m. CT and Columbus State at 4 p.m. CT. Admission is free for both games.