Sunday, April 20th, 2014

2010 FSU Seminoles Softball Season Review

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The Florida State softball team had their season end over the weekend in the Athens Regional. The Noles were eliminated by Radford, 3-2, and didn’t make it to the Sunday games. It was a disappointing end to the season, but I don’t think that it was completely unexpected. Seminole fans were hopeful heading into the weekend, since FSU beat UGA 4-3 during the regular season, but realistically knew that beating a national seed was a tough order for the 2010 team.

However, one weekend of play does not make a season. Let’s take a look back at 2010 for FSU Softball. Here’s my full 2010 Preview as a point of reference, but if you don’t want to read the whole thing, don’t worry, because I’ll hit the highlights here as I review.

First up, I said the Noles needed to do the following to improve upon 2009 and take the next step towards being an elite team.

  • They improve their team fielding percentage from .971 (incidentally, this was a huge improvement over the 2008 campaign, but it still needs to get to the .980 range).
  • They get solid play from the infield… The Noles need solid D behind the pitching if they want to win the elite games this season.
  • Ashley Stager hits over .300. She hit .295 last year, if she can push it over .300 and have a SLG% over .500 the Noles will have a bat that helps replace Kaleigh Rafter.
  • Transfers Jen Lapicki (Catcher) and Tory Haddad (1B) make significant contributions.
  • Carly Wynn doesn’t have to hit lead-off. I’m sure that sounds like blasphemy on the surface, but last year’s lineup was wonderful when she could hit second in the order and bat around someone just as speedy in front of her. There is a potential 1-2 punch if anybody can step up to hit lead-off ahead of Wynn.
  • So what happened?

    • The team’s fielding percentage regressed to .966 from .971.
    • McConn and Stager dropped 20+ points each in fielding percentage. True freshman, Tiffani Brown’s respectable first season at third took 40 points off of Michelle Snyder’s mark in 2009. The sole bright spot was Tory Haddad at 1B.
    • Stager hit .299 and slugged .438, close enough but with an overall improved FSU Offense it wasn’t as necessary as I thought.
    • Lapicki and Haddad’s bats had small impacts, but their fielding was a solid addition. So it sort of evened out from what I expected.
    • The Carly Wynn at #2 never really happened. In the end, it didn’t have to happen because Shayla Jackson hit .338 behind Carly Wynn. I still wonder though, had it been reversed if the Noles would have scratched out some more runs.

    Other things that I didn’t predict:

    • I never for a moment thought that the pitching staff would regress. They did. They added 1.03 points to the team ERA vs. 2009. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe opposing teams figured out Sarah Hamilton and Terese Gober. Perhaps there were injury questions that I don’t know about. I’m not here to overly criticize them, but the fact remains that neither of the FSU aces had the elite season necessary to mask a defense that didn’t play as well as 2009′s. I still say something looked fishy with Hamilton every time I saw her pitch. She didn’t look comfortable to me.
    • The team is learning how to hit, big time. I’m a big proponent of pitching and defense win ball games, but having a solid offense is a wonderful thing. As a team, the Noles batted .297 this year, 35 points higher than in Coach Alameda’s first season. That is HUGE considering they lost Kaleigh Rafter from the 2009 squad. Way to go for those that stepped up!
    • Unexpected surprises. Kudos to Mallory Borden (.317), true freshman Tiffani Brown (.328), true freshman Morgan Bullock (.300) for being surprise (to me) .300 hitters. And double kudos to Kristie McConn (.263) who obviously put in a ton of work in the batting cage jumping up from a .214 2009 campaign.
    • Unexpected surprise #2. Welcome back Robin Ahrberg, who was part time catcher and most of the time Designated Player for the Noles. Her offense was a welcome surprise coming off of an injury that kept her out throughout 2009.

    In the preview I asked:

    But is this all a big trap? Will the Noles end up making an early exit in the NCAA Tournament?

    The final answer is a definite “Yes.” However, I originally thought it would be less obvious. When the tournament actually rolled around this season, I think that educated FSU Softball fans realized that the Noles had a tough road ahead in the tournament. Not only did they have problems winning against elite competition most of the year, but they also struggled at times with supposedly “lesser” teams. The pitching staff never dominated like it did in 2009, and the defense behind the staff was not as good.

    On the bright side, the Noles were 44-18 in 2010 (44-16) in 2009. I believe that Coach Alameda and her staff have the team pointed in the right direction. The bats were a sore spot for a long time at the end of Coach Graf’s run. I’m sure that the pitching and defense will be a focus of Alameda during this off season.

    On a final note, thank you to all of the FSU Seniors. Terese Gober, Monica Montez, Tory Haddad, Courtney Rosen and Carly Wynn. It’s always been a pleasure to watch you play!

    Comments

    13 Responses to “2010 FSU Seminoles Softball Season Review”
    1. JordiNo Gravatar says:

      What is this batting average, ERA, and fielding percentage you speak of? What about stats like OPS, Fielder Independent Pitching, and Zone Rating? Ha ha. I kid of course. Only baseball geeks speak in those terms.

      • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:

        Actually I’m with you on that one buddy. The problem lies in the fact that college softball (and baseball to an extent) is completely unreliable with scoring. So I stick with the basics, especially with softball. I’ve see far too many hits that were errors, too many oddly scored plays that favor home teams, etc. that I wonder how accurate any of it is anyway.

        Plus, for all of the in-depth stats like you mention, I’m far, far too lazy to bother calculating it all off of flawed starting data. If it was done by FSU for me, I’d be happy to use many of those instead, but until they break out FIP for me or determine was Stager’s Zone actually is I’m leaving it alone. LOL.

    2. NoleitNo Gravatar says:

      NoleCC, Your review is dead on.There is some concerns moving forward,but have faith that Coach A will sort them out with the next couple of classes. I think we can look for one maybe two players leaving the program, and I’m hopeful for a transfer pitcher coming in. I would give up a little defense if we had some power hitters.The game has changed and it requires you to have power hitters. Just look at the teams built on speed there at the house watching it on TV.

      On a differnt note is there any word on upgrading the batting cages ?

      • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:

        Thanks Noleit.

        Regarding the batting the cages, the only thing I’ve heard is that the plans are ready to roll, but that the cost is roughly $1 million, so the upgrades are a long, long way off with the current budget situation unless a big donor happens to come through.

        • NoleitNo Gravatar says:

          Nolecc, Just heard from someone that should know that the new indoor batting cages are fixing to go under construction. This will be huge in recruiting !!!

          • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:

            That’s fantastic news. I’ve heard that they are like a mini version of Dick Howser’s. Is that correct?

            • NoleitNo Gravatar says:

              What I heard is it will be the Mother of all. Two story with Turf on one floor. Also heard that football want’s the girls out of the weight room (Jimbo raising Hell)so I see a weight room for soccer and softball in the near future. At this point what football want’s football gets and that’s find by me,because they butter the bread for all sports.

    3. E-DawgNo Gravatar says:

      Who is your favorite to win the WCWS?

      • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:

        I have a hard time betting against Washington because of Danielle Lawrie. I would not be surprised to see Georgia or Florida (assuming they get past ASU) win it either though. The bats for both of those teams are great.

    4. E-DawgNo Gravatar says:

      Do you think UGA really stands a decent chance against Washington? Or is it just wishful thinking?Seems like Pac 10 teams dominate this sport.

      • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:

        I do, if they are patient at the plate. UNC nearly took Lawrie out of the tournament, and the Tar Heels were a solid team, but not as good as UGA or Florida, imho.

        If the bats go cold for the Dawgs, then no I think they’re out of it. But, that probably goes for any of the WCWS teams.

        • NoleitNo Gravatar says:

          For those that said the team played a weak schedule this year looks like next year gets real tough.

          Patrick Murphy created the Easton Classic two seasons ago, bringing in Washington, Georgia and Baylor (with Alabama joining Washington and Georgia later in the World Series, making it the nation’s most competitive four-team event of the 2008 season). He nurtured it this year with a field that included Michigan, DePaul and South Carolina.
          The event will continue next year at the Alabama Softball Complex with an SEC vs. ACC format. Florida State and North Carolina of the Atlantic Coast Conference will join Alabama and Mississippi State in the field. The ACC teams won’t play each other, nor will Alabama play MSU, but it should make for another high-profile event.