SB | Dynamic Outfield Headlined by Speed
Saint Mary's softball opens 2018 in three days at the Kajikawa Tournament hosted in Tempe, Ariz.
MORAGA, Calif. -- Saint Mary’s softball opens 2018 this Friday at the tough Kajikawa Tournament in Tempe, Ariz., and will face several powerhouse opponents throughout the three-day invitational. Leading up to opening week action, we will take a closer look at each position starting with the outfield.
Looking at the outfield, two words define the group - Range, Speed.
“I am excited about the range and speed of our defense,” Saint Mary’s head coach Jessica Rodgers explained. “With Dylan back leading the outfield in center field, we should be strong at taking care of the ball out there.”
The unit is comprised of a strong veteran presence with juniors Linton and Abbey Mariani leading the charge.
Linton returns to center field for her third season after starting all 48 games in 2017. The 5-10 outfielder not only delivered on defense, but advanced runners at the plate after leading last year’s squad with 13 sacrifice hits and six triples. Linton posted a .985 fielding percentage her sophomore campaign, and a .972 percentage her first season.
“With Dylan back leading the outfield in center field, we should be strong at taking care of the ball and backing up our infield,” said Rodgers.
Mariani, a junior from Winters, Calif., will also provide leadership presence after playing in both right and left field as a sophomore. Mariani started in 42 games in 2017 and recorded a perfect fielding percentage with 28 putouts.
Second year player Eryn McCoy was a dual threat for last year’s Gaels, as she played in the outfield and inside the circle for SMC. McCoy was second on the team with a .298 batting average en route to being named All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention.
Freshman Kimiko Zapanta rounds out the group with her speed and strong defense.
“This group excites me and they have been working hard at practice,” stated Rodgers. “We have been working on fine tuning our communications in the gaps and making sure we are working well on our throws going back into the infield.”
Saint Mary’s opens 2018 versus New Mexico and Notre Dame on Friday, Feb. 9 at the Kajikawa Tournament.
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