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Wednesday, February 04, 2009The Lady Bisons outfield situation is a puzzle with many pieces, but coach Kristin Peck is confident that the completed picture will be a successful one.
“We are looking at people for all three positions in the outfield,” said Peck. “We have so many good athletes on our team. We have a lot of people who could play out there who are not traditional outfielders. It may come down to hitting.”
Freshman Caroline Mason, from Mount Juliet High School in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., is getting a strong look at left field. Mason was a two-year All-State selection by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association.
“Caroline has a very good arm,” said Peck. “She struggled some hitting in the fall getting into a rhythm with how we teach things. But she took off this spring. We are looking for big things from her at the plate over the next four years.
“Caroline could be our everyday left fielder. But she has such a good arm we could move her from left to right.”
Mackenzie Tucker is also spending time in left field. She played in 44 games last year, starting 35.
“A lot of it is going to come down to her hitting and Mackenzie knows that,” said Peck. “She is a slapper. She has to find ways to get on base. She has worked on a lot of things offensively where she has a few more tools this year.
“She has improved a ton offensively. A lot of it is confidence for her. A lot of it is just that has been through her first year and realizes what she is looking for. She could be an everyday presence on the field for us.”
Junior Lauren Dortwegt, the center fielder the last two seasons, could also see some playing time in left. She was third in the A-Sun triples with four. She started all 55 games. In 2007 she was both Second Team All A-Sun and a member of the A-Sun All-Freshman Team.
“Lauren covers a ton of ground,” said Peck. “It would be incredibly difficult to take her out of the lineup with what she brings to the table. Lauren knows her role is to get on base. We don’t need her to drive in runs, but if she gets on base she makes our offense go.”
Dortwegt and Tucker are getting a lot of work in center field as well.
“Mackenzie brings a little more aggressiveness to center field,” said Peck. “She also brings a vocal presence.
“Lauren is probably a little bit quicker and has the experience of being out there the last two years. Mackenzie played left last season.”
Also expected to get some playing time is junior Katie Haab, a key reserve last season. Haab could play some in right field.
“Katie has worked hard,” said Peck. “Last year was a transition year for her from the infield to the outfield. It took her some time to get used to playing in the outfield. For Katie it is going to be matter of hitting. We have worked with her and hope she will be more consistent.
“Katie has understood her role the last couple of years and performed it well. She is a vital part of our team. Katie is somebody who could be out on the field for us. We look for her to push some people.”
Other options in the outfield are Kellie Sirus, Abby Keese. Megan Rottler and Courtney Billington.
“Courtney is such an athlete,” said Peck. “She has a great arm. She is going to bounce around the field. It may change every game.”