Longtime Lady Vols co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly each season put a team on the field that pull on its younger players to over perform as the formula for their success. Those new players this year will hopefully fill the holes left by the graduation of team members, Aubrey Leach, Haley Bearden and pitcher Matty Moss, who was a team leader both from the pitching circle or cheering from the dugout. They also lost the talents of starting pitcher Caylan Arnold who transferred to Florida State.
This year’s Lady Vols includes eight of those fresh faces including, Anna Fox, Kiki Milloy, KK McCrary, Josie Willingham, Amanda Curran, Callie Turner, Anna Hazelwood and Madison Webber.
They also get Ally Shipman returning from her injury filled season last year to handle catching duties and give the team another strong offensive bat. Also coming off of a great freshman campaign pitcher Ashley Rogers will be taking over as the teams undisputed #1 pitcher. They also hope that freshman Callie Turner can come right in and claim the #2 pitching spot replacing the loss of Arnold.
On offense besides the returning offensive power of Shipman the Lady Vols have several returning players including senior Chelsea Seggern who lead the team last year in doubles with sixteen along with 46RBIs and Kaitlin Parsons also returns with a .418 on base hitting percentage.
Tennessee’s game is one of small ball and timely hits with good pitching and the occassional long ball. They have been able to make it work for many years having been in the post season tournament seventeen times but haven’t made it to the WCWS since 2015.
Once again the Lady Vols look like a lock to make it in to this years tournament but can they break that WCWS appearance dry streak? I don’t think so. I think they’ll make a nice run come tournament time but are still one or two players short, including another ace pitcher, to make it to this year’s big show in Oklahoma City.