2010 FSU Seminoles Softball Season Review
Posted by William Kristoph
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!