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Saturday, October 02, 2010Coach Kristin Ryman will get a first look at her new version of the Lady Bisons softball team which will feature new faces at four positions.
Saturday at 2 p.m. at Draper Diamond the Lady Bisons will play a doubleheader against Middle Tennessee State. At 11 a.m. there will be an alumni game.
Ryman is looking for replacements at first base, second base, third base and center field. But virtually every position is open as fall drills continue for the defending Atlantic Sun Champions.
“We are young again and the youth is showing in a lot of different areas, but things are looking good so far,” Ryman said. “We have been showing the new players what our expectations are and how we do things like running practice.
“Our young ones are learning pretty quickly what Lipscomb softball is all about. But we are still in that transition period.”
Ryman has a lot of players competing at most positions.
In center field sophomore Bree Thurman and senior Mackenzie Tucker are vying to replace Lauren Dortwegt.
“Both of them played center prior to coming to Lipscomb,” Ryman said. “Mackenzie got used to playing in left and Bree got used to playing in right. Now they have to get back into a center field mentality.”
Christen Campbell was a mainstay at third base. Ryman is working with sophomore Lacy Walker and freshman Rena’ Cothron at third.
“They have to get game experience this fall,” Ryman said. “They have both shown some good things in practice and they have both shown some weaknesses.
“They both work extremely hard. They both have great attitudes. It is going to come down to which one gets it done on a consistent basis.”
Mollie Mitchell, a two-time All A-Sun performer at catcher, is also working at third.
“She is one of the best, if not the best, catchers in the conference,” Ryman said. “I really don’t want to take her from behind the plate. But I think third could be an option if we need her there.
Freshman Haley Elliott is a freshman who could fill in for Mitchell at the catcher position.
“Haley has worked behind the plate with Molly,” Ryman said. “She has shown a lot of improvement already. She is a big time talent both catching and hitting.”
Abby Keese played second base last season after making the move from shortstop. She has also graduated and her position is wide open. Freshman Bridgette Begle appears to have the lead at this stage of the fall.
“She has tremendous range and is a tremendous athlete,” Ryman said. “She realistically could end up being our second baseman. From a range standpoint having Bridgette at second is like having Courtney Billington at shortstop. Bridgette could also play third base.
“She is a good athlete at the plate. I am anxious to see how she works in a game situation. She comes to practice everyday and works hard.”
Walker and Cothron could also get playing time in the middle of the infield.
Redshirt sophomore Vanessa Medina missed most of last season, but has an edge in the area of experience at first base. Freshman Kristen Sturdivant is also working at first to replace Kellie Sirus, the A-Sun Tournament MVP for 2010.
“Both of them field the ball pretty well,” Ryman said. “Vanessa is working hard on her hitting. A lot of it for Vanessa is getting back in a game mode and not holding back.
“Kristen is still learning our system. She has tremendous promise. Both she and Vanessa have to improve their quickness and their reactions.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.