Softball begins practice for 2014 season

    Head coach Kerri Blaylock

    Head coach Kerri Blaylock
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    Jan. 13, 2014

    2014 Schedule

    CARBONDALE, Ill.— With seven starters returning from the 2013 squad that went 25-27, the Southern Illinois softball team is eager to begin preparing for its 46th year of competition.

    Head coach Kerri Blaylock, who begins her 15th season at the helm, said the team is really excited to start the season.

    “We have done things during the offseason differently from team bonding to goal setting,” Blaylock said. “The kids are really focused and just ready to go.”

    The Salukis return seven position starters that include senior catcher Allie VadeBoncouer, senior first baseman Taylor Orsburn, senior second baseman Jayna Spivey, senior third baseman Kelsea Ashton, sophomore shortstop Kelsey Gonzalez, junior center fielder Kalyn Harker and junior designated hitter Meredith Wilson.

    With the loss of outfielders Michelle Bradley and Morgan Barchan to graduation, Blaylock will be looking to fill those voids in the outfield.



    “Losing a player like Morgan Barchan offensively is a blow and we feel that Michelle Glenn showed glimmers at the end of the season of how good she could be and Meredith Wilson as well,” said Blaylock. “We have moved Caylee Cook to the outfield along with freshman Merri Anne Patterson and Kara Kimball who started as a walk-on has been really great defensively for us so we feel good about that.”

    Southern also returns junior pitchers Alyssa Wunderlich and Katie Bertelsen.

    “We have Katie Bertelsen back healthy this season as well as Alyssa Wunderlich and also the addition of freshman Shaye Harre,” Blaylock said. “I feel like we can be steady this season on the mound.”

    The Saluki roster also boasts four newcomers this season including pitcher Shaye Harre (Nashville, Ill.), outfielder Merri Anne Patterson (Lynville, Tenn.), catcher Jessa Thomas (Johnston City, Ill.) and infielder Brook Womack (Chattanooga, Tenn.).

    “There is no doubt that they will all be able to play,” said Blaylock. “How much they play will be determined by how they practice and perform but they all will be able to contribute immediately.”

    The 2014 season will begin on Feb. 7 when the Salukis travel to San Marcos, Texas for the Century Link Classic hosted by Texas State University.

    “We have a great schedule, we are trying to stay south early and stay warm and then will come and open at home in March.”

    Following the Century Link Classic, the Salukis will spend two consecutive weekends in Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 14-16 and Feb. 21-23 before returning to Carbondale to host the Coach B Classic at Charlotte West Stadium March 1-2.

    “We are really focusing on being prepared for every game whether it be a conference game, a mid-week game or a game against a top-25 team,” said Blaylock. “We have been focusing on how to change that and the fall was a great start and now we are excited to begin this season.”