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Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Look into the Future for Auburn Softball

That was a difficult loss for the Auburn Softball team on Saturday afternoon. It is always good for me to take a day before I write about a season ending loss for any Auburn Sports team. I am disappointed like the rest of the "Auburn Family". I did feel that the Auburn pitching was good enough to win, but the bats just did not produce at the right time. As a former baseball player and volunteer softball coach, you just have days that you do not play as well in the field or make solid contact with the ball at the plate. Auburn Softball just had two of those days. I really feel that they were the better team, but the Oklahoma Softball team just happened to play a little better on Friday and Saturday afternoon. I congratulate all of the players on this Auburn Softball team for their efforts in 2017. It is not easy to make it through an SEC Softball schedule and play for a spot in the World Series in Oklahoma City.

Auburn Softball did sign the nation’s number 2 recruiting 
class for the 2018 softball season. Here is a list of the players that will be coming to Auburn this Fall. I expect some of these ladies will be at the opening practice in August.

1) Kara Bilodeau            P            Cumming, Ga./South Forsyth

2) Makenna Dowell       SS           Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett

3) Chardonnay Harris    P           Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park and River 


4) Mackenzie Nutt       2B SS         Madison, Al./Sparkman

5) Jenna Olszewski     OF              Hoover, Ala./Spain Park

6) Livy Schiele            OF              Bonita, Calif./The Bishop’s

7) Taylon Snow             SS             
Chino Hills, Calif./Chino Hills

8) Abby Tissier              C               Hoover, Ala./Hoover

Taylon Snow is a .504 hitter and a 3 time HS All-American. Taylon may be the best HS recruit in the USA for this signing class. Haley Fagan and Kasey Cooper have graduated and Taylon Snow, Makenna Dowell and Mackenzie Nutt will shore up the infield line up. I think that Taylon Snow will be the starting short stop next season and Makenna  Dowell or Mackenzie Nutt could win the third base position.

Auburn will be solid at the pitching position in 2018. Kaylee Carlson, Makayla Martin and Ashlee Swindle will return and they will be joined by Kara Bilodeau and Chardonnay Harris. Harris is a lefty and was the 2016 Illinois player of the year. Bilodeau is a hard throwing right handed pitcher and will be playing for the Canadian Junior National Team this summer.

Abby Tissier will back up Carlee Wallace and Courtney Shea at the catcher position. I look for her to be moved into the starting position after Carlee graduates. She has a great bat with a .349 batting average in HS.

Two good outfielders will be coming on board next season. Jenna Olszewski is an all State player for Spain Park in Hoover, Alabama. Livy Schiele hails from Bonita, California and holds 7 HS records in hitting (.589 batting average).

I only hope that Clint Myers continue to coach this Auburn Softball team. He has  completely turned this team around. I can remember the days prior to his hire when no one seemed to care about the program and there were only a few people in the stands. Also, Auburn was expected to lose to their in state rival.  I am sure that Jay Jacobs will be meeting with him next week to discuss the future of Auburn Softball.

I do look forward to watching these girls play next season and I do feel that Auburn will be in contention once again for a spot in Oklahoma City.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Softball Senior Thanks

My Special Thank to the Softball Seniors

-There is a thanks to each senior and the ones leaving the team, just bear with my trip (lap) down memory lane. 

If you follow any of my blogs or my twitter account, you know I am super into softball. So, I am especially thankful at what these seniors have done in their time at Auburn. I played a long time. I only played a little fastpitch because, well, you can see the date on there. This was my 2nd year. That's me, third from the right on the bottom row. I was even smaller the year before.  Those girls in the top row are actually in the same age division as me. Only the two on the end are coaches. The rest are my teammates. My coach showed us little bottom row gals NO MERCY from the big girls up top. He also taught me to LOVE the game. Strike out? Sucks for you! Take a lap! I played until 1994, when I went to college. The days of park ball, a small amount of travel ball and "tournament teams" were over for me. When I went to college, there were not the opportunities that there are now in the southeast for college softball. Was I good enough? Probably not, but it was not even something I dreamed of in those days. I played some in intramural at college, and that was a blast itself. 

These days, I roam the ball park with my nieces. I help coach sometimes, sometimes I am doing stats and the "scorebook" and sometimes I just watch.  Thanks to what these Auburn seniors and those around them have done, these girls CAN dream of playing college softball at their beloved Auburn. The two on the end on the right are my nieces. They are 4th generation Auburn gals. My nieces have loved watching these last few years when we can. We cannot always watch because we are playing ourselves. 

So for the seniors as a group, thank you. You've changed the landscape and culture of softball at Auburn, in the SEC, and in our part of the country. You have built a legacy that has made it possible for little girls to dream big dreams. I know you are heartbroken and disappointed at the outcome this weekend, but you will not know what you have done for these little girls. So from an old washed up ballplayer that never got the chance and for my nieces who dream of playing on The Plains one day, thank you. I know you felt a little short of your goals but when Auburn wins the whole thing in OKC next year or the next, your work and dedication will be on the field with them.  You've laid the groundwork for a whole new generation! So, now without further delay, my individual thanks...

1. Jenna Abbott-  Thank you so much for everything you have done for Auburn softball. I know the countless hours of team practice, individual practice, traveling and games takes a toll. It makes the academics harder that it would be without softball. I have enjoyed watching you play and "getting to know you" during your time at Auburn with interviews and clips and twitter. It's been amazing. Thank you. You will never know how much your class changed everything. One of my girls started pitching this year and I gotta tell you, its a lonely place to be! I have a WHOLE new appreciation for pitchers now. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you because I know its going to be something really special. I hope you stay in touch with your Auburn family because there will always be a place for you in our hearts. We are going to miss you and your little baseball wind up very much!

2. Haley Fagan- I feel like I have gotten to know you a little better than others even though I have never met any of you! It has been a joy and privilege to be the person praying for you the last 3 years. We started prayers4players in 2012, and we have tried to add sports every year. My nieces love you. I know it has not been sunshine and daisies for you but look at what you have done. Everything has changed. Auburn is a power player in the SEC now. We watched you battle through your injury last year. Thank you for sticking it out. You showed my girls that you don't walk away when it gets a little hard or challenging. Maybe one day we will get to meet in person. Your effort, time and dedication changed things at Auburn and we thank you. No matter what else, you left it all out on the field every time you went out there. I hope that you stay in touch with your Auburn family. I am really glad you transferred from USA!! (Even though we go to softball camp there and love it!) From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything you have done. 

3. Kasey Cooper- I don't think we thought you were a real human being until this year. You definitely did leave a legacy. One of my nieces is an extremely intellectually gifted little girl. She has been especially interested in watching you. She has been into engineering before she even knew what it was. She takes a special engineering class now on Thursdays! She's also a lefty non-slapper, so she has learned a lot watching you! You have given her the greatest role model we could ever have asked for. Thank you. Thank you for giving my girls hope that they can one day play at Auburn. Thank you for showing them that you can do it while being an excellent student. I hope we get to see you in the Olympics in a couple of years. Thank you for your hard work, your time, your dedication, your sweat and tears. It has been a joy to watch you play. I once read that Bro Chette wrote that Cam played football as if he played for God's pleasure. I feel the same way about watching you play softball. I gotta tell you, it was extremely touching today to see you tear up when you were on 2nd base and your mom did the same thing. That is really special. I am SO GLAD you came to Auburn. 

4. Sydne Waldrop- I really appreciate you & what you've done for Auburn. You never got a lot of playing time. You did not have the glory that some of your other teammates did. You were still there, giving it all you had. I often do the scorebook at the park for the girls' team and even for other teams sometimes. I used to do it for A JOB when I was in high school if I wasn't playing. You helped to make a difference in the culture of softball at Auburn. Thank you for everything that you have done for Auburn. I know that you are going to do some really special things. I hope that you stay in touch with your Auburn family. 

5. Whitney Jordan- I just read that you were going to be moving on with a teaching career. I don't know what you are going to teach, but I just concluded my 19th year teaching. It is hard work but is more rewarding than any dollar amount any other career might pay. I have a special place in my heart for you. You stepped up big time last year and took on a role when you needed to and played it BIG. When it was time to step back, you did that as well. Thank you so much. I know there were countless hours of practice and studying. Thank you so much. Your dedication changed things at Auburn. I hope you stay in touch with your Auburn family because we really, really love ya'll a lot!

6. Madi Gipson- I also read that you were moving on to the next part of your life. Thank you for your time and dedication to Auburn. I know there were days when you just wanted to not do it anymore. Thank you for sticking it out. I thank you for everything you did for changing the culture of softball at Auburn. One day they are going to win it all in OKC and you will have been part of it. You made a difference for everyone coming after you. Thank you for everything you did for Auburn. I know you are going to do great things. Please stay in touch with your Auburn family. Thank you.

So from my baby girls (who are NOT artists!) thank you!

PS: I forgot to thank someone. Thank you Auburn students for coming to games, practices and everything else and supporting the team and cheering LOUDLY. Even in Oklahoma, we could hear the cheers of "Its great to be an Auburn Tiger". That was really something special. Your support of the team helped change the future as well. I can tell you from personal experience that there were lots of times these girls played where some of their parents were the only ones rooting them on. I want to especially thank Clint Richardson. He bought me a pin in OKC. If you've followed me at all, you know I have a serious pin collection. Thanks, Clint for being such an avid supported of all of the Auburn sports. You deserve senior recognition, too. I know we are going to hear about great things from you in the future. I know you are going to be something special!!!!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Another Showdown with Oklahoma Softball

I do believe that this Auburn Softball team was destined to play Oklahoma again after the heart breaking loss in the World Series final last season. Auburn actually scored 2 more runs than Oklahoma in the series, but lost 2 games. I actually attended the first game that was shown on the big screen at the Auburn Softball field and Auburn lost a close one 3-2. Of course, the second game went Auburn's way 11-7 and Emily Carosone hit a game winning grand slam home run. Auburn trailed 7-0 after the second inning and scored 11 runs to win that game in the 8th inning. Game 3 was a pitcher's duel and Auburn lost 2-1. Coach Myers stated after the loss that "I am very proud of these young ladies that play softball at Auburn University. They gave their heart, their soul, their commitment. They battled. They were relentless."

These two teams know one another well and I expect to see some great softball in this series. Auburn did play Oklahoma to begin this season in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and won 3-2. Some players to watch for Oklahoma are Shay Knighten (infield), Sydney Romero (infield), Paige Lowery (pitcher), and Paige Parker (pitcher). Players to watch for Auburn are Kasey Cooper, Haley Fagan, Kendall Veach (she hit two home runs in the 3-2 game earlier this season), Alyssa Rivera, Victoria Draper, Carlee Wallace, Kaylee Carlson and Makayla Martin.

Auburn will be adding 200 portable bleachers to the outfield for this Super Regional so my normal seating and tailgate area in left field will no longer be free. That is the price of success. I can remember when Auburn could barely fill up the stands prior to the Clint Myer era and the games were all free.

The series will begin this Friday at 3:00 p.m. CT on ESPN2. Game 2 will be at noon CT and game 3, if necessary, will be at noon CT on Sunday on ESPN. Also, you can listen to the games on 95.9 FM and the Auburn app. Brit Bowen and Brad Law call the games and they make you feel like you are at the game.

Thank you Clint Myers for putting Auburn Softball back on the map and I look forward to watching these girls play in Oklahoma City again.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Third Consecutive Super Regional for Auburn Softball

The Auburn Softball Team began their quest for their third consecutive Super Regional under the guidance of Clint Myers with an 11-0 win over East Tennessee State on Friday afternoon. Auburn scored 10 runs in the 4th inning to put this game away.

Makayla Martin got the win and only allowed one hit in this shutout. Kendall Veach gets my "gold" star for this game by going 2 for 2 with 3 RBIs. 

Auburn faced the Cal Golden Bears in game 2 on Saturday. The Auburn bats were alive again in this game with 15 hits and 4 runs. This game went 9 innings and ended with a walk off single down the left field line by Alyssa Rivera that scored Brittany Maresette who had come in to run for Carlee Wallace.

Kaylee Carlson started the game and Makayla Martin coming in to pitch 3 innings of relief. She allowed no runs and recorded two strikeouts.

Carlee Wallace may have saved the game in the 9th inning when she caught a runner in a rundown who had strayed too far off of third base. 

Auburn faced the Cal Golden Bears in a Sunday morning game for game 3. Auburn struck early and scored 7 runs in the first two innings. Auburn put on a hitting clinic by recording 16 hits and won 8-2. Kasey Cooper and Haley Fagan each had 3 hits and a home run to lead the offense.

Kaylee Carlson got the win and Makayla Martin came in for relief and notched her second save for the year.

I feel that this Auburn team is now playing their best softball of the year just in time for the Super Regionals next week. Auburn will play the winner of the Oklahoma/Tulsa game that will be played on Monday at noon CDT. Auburn only needs to win two more games to go to another World Series in Oklahoma City.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Auburn Softball Regional

This Friday, the Auburn Softball team will begin their quest for another appearance in the College Softball World Series in Oklahoma City. It will be a playoff atmosphere in Auburn, Alabama this weekend. If Auburn does win this regional, they could have a rematch with Oklahoma in the Super Regionals. If you want to attend and cannot find a ticket, there is seating outside the left field fence under the pine trees.  

Auburn Regional Brackets 

(Double Elimination)
Friday, May 19
Game 1: Notre Dame vs. Cal – 1 p.m. ESPN2
Game 2: Auburn vs. ETSU – 3:30 p.m. ESPNU 
Saturday, May 20
Game 3: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – 1:30 p.m. TV TBD
Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – 4 p.m. TV TBD
Game 5: Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 – 6:30 p.m. TV TBD
Sunday, May 21
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 – 1:30 p.m. TV TBD
Game 7: (if necessary) – 4 p.m. TV TBD

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, May 11, 2017

SEC Softball Tournament Update

The Auburn Softball team only needed 3 hits to beat the Kentucky Wildcats today 2-0. Kaylee Carlson pitched another great game and she only allowed 6 hits. There were a lot of ground balls due to the pitch location and Kaylee Carlson's "Devastator" change up was freezing the Kentucky batters. 

Kendall Veach hit the game winning home run over the center field fence in the the bottom of the sixth inning and assisted with a key double play that ended Kentucky's scoring threat in the top of the sixth. 

Kasey Cooper seems to be swinging the bat well after being hit twice in the series with Alabama. She is certain to be a factor in the playoffs. 

Auburn will play the winner of the LSU/Tennessee game in the semi finals at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow. Florida was upset by Ole Miss today so the final  could be interesting. Of course,  I would like to see an Auburn/Ole Miss final.

Enjoy watching this team play.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Near Miss in Tuscaloosa

Auburn Takes the Series with Bama

Saturday night was a record night for this Auburn Tiger Softball team and here are the highlights. They made history by winning their fifth straight game against Alabama 4-1 and it was the first road series that Auburn has won in Tuscaloosa. I will say it again. Clint Myers has done a remarkable job with this Auburn Softball team since he was named the head coach and congrats on win 200 at Auburn.

Makayla Martin got the start and pitched 6 solid innings before being relieved by Kaylee Carlson. Makayla does pitch for contact and many of the balls hit from her pitches are ground balls. She has excellent control and can really move the ball around the plate. Carlson got the save and ended the game in the seventh inning for the win. She now has 4 saves this season in relief. 

Kasey Cooper went out of the game in the fourth inning after being hit by an inside pitch on her left arm. It does appear that she does not have any broken bones and hopefully she can return to action soon. You could tell by her reaction in the dugout that she did not want to leave the game. 

Auburn scored 4 runs in the fifth inning. Alabama walked in the first run and Alyssa Rivera then hit a double and 3 runs scored.

I am heading to Tuscaloosa this morning for game 3 this morning. Auburn will go for the series sweep at noon CDT today and the game will be on ESPN2.

Enjoy the game! 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Cold Pitching Duel In Tuscaloosa

It was a cold night in Tuscaloosa and there was a record crowd in Rhoads Stadium for game one of this rivalry. Auburn secured a 3-0 victory in nine innings which is their fourth straight win against Alabama. You can review the highlights on the Auburn Softball Twitter page.

Kaylee Carlson pitched a gem of a game and threw 161 pitches in 9 innings. She was using her change up to perfection last night and the Alabama hitters had difficulty calculating when to hit the ball.

Alexis Osorio, the pitcher for the Crimson Tide was relieved in the eighth inning after posting 184 pitches, 18 strikeouts and 11 walks. Sydney Littlejohn came in for relief to end the inning. I am sure that the Auburn ladies were pleased with this move since they do tend to hit her well. 

The highlight of the night was watching the head coach of the Crimson Tide, Patrick Murphy be ejected in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes. It appeared to me that this move was orchestrated by the Alabama coaching staff to fire up the team. I think that Patrick Murphy is under fire now that the Alabama Softball team is no longer on top of the SEC.

The scoring began in the ninth inning when Kasey Cooper was hit by a pitch. Carlee Wallace got a base hit and Haley Fagan hit a slow rolling ball to the Alabama short stop and she made an errant throw to first base. Kasey Cooper scored. Kendall Veach hit a ball to left field that scored two more Auburn runs which is all Auburn would need to get the win.

Kaylee Carlson gets my game ball. I feel that she may be one of the best pitchers in college softball. Her change up is called the "Devastator" and the pitch usually freezes the opposing batters.

Auburn and Alabama will face off again tonight at 7 p.m. CDT on ESPN and Makayla Martin will most likely get the start. It will be a great night for some more Auburn Softball.