SB | Inside Look at the Pitchers and Catchers
Saint Mary's begins 2018 tomorrow morning versus New Mexico at the Kajikawa Tournament.
MORAGA, Calif. -- Saint Mary’s softball opens 2018 this Friday at the Kajikawa Tournament in Tempe, Ariz., and will face several powerhouse opponents throughout the three-day invitational. Now just one day away from the season’s first pitch, we will take a deeper look at the pitchers and catchers.
BIG YEAR AHEAD
After the graduation of one the most accomplished pitchers in Gaels history, Katie Moss, Saint Mary’s will rely on several players inside the mound, with senior Katlyn Whitt leading the charge.
“Katlyn is ready to go,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Jessica Rodgers. “She is up to the task in her senior year and has been putting in hard work everyday.”
The senior is coming off a strong junior season where she was second on the team with a 2.57 ERA and seven complete games.
GETTING MORE LOOKS
Sophomore Eryn McCoy and freshman Eileen Perez will also get opportunities on the mound. McCoy split her first season in the outfield and as a pitcher, but the Gaels anticipate the sophomore to have a larger role throwing pitches.
“Eryn’s role as a pitcher will increase this year,” said Rodgers. “She wants the ball and she has the right tools to succeed. She will definitely get the ball often this year.”
In her first season, McCoy started in nine games and had a 2.98 ERA.
As a newcomer, Perez offers another talented arm with a veteran-like presence. The first year player a two-time All League MVP at Valley View High School.
“Eileen has a good presence on the mound,” said Rodgers. “She has been practicing hard, getting better, and will get opportunities.”
With a trio of talent, the Gaels pitching rotation will offer a different look each game.
“Our pitching staff compliments each other really well,” stated Rodgers. “Their individual strengths are all different so they can give teams all sorts of different looks.”
PIECING THE BATTERY
Putting the Gaels together, sophomore Hannah Chew will be relied on as the leading catcher. The second year player leads a young crop of catchers after an impressive freshman season.
“We anticipate Chew to lead the pack right out of the gate,” explained Rodgers. “She has been improving in keeping the battery in sync, and continues to work well with the pitchers.”
The left-handed catcher was third on the team with 13 RBIs in 2017 and finished the year batting .255. Chew was second on the team with 165 putouts.
Behind Chew is freshman Mehana Johns, sophomore Allie Bullock and senior Caitlyn Callahan.
“We are still young at the catcher position but everyone is working hard and improving,” said Rodgers.
Johns comes to Saint Mary’s from Gregori High School where she was a team captain her senior season. Bullock made 17 starts as catcher her first season at SMC and recorded a .959 fielding percentage.
The Gaels open 2018 tomorrow with a doubleheader at the Kajikawa Tournament. Saint Mary’s first takes on New Mexico at 11:45 a.m., then finishes the day versus Notre Dame at 5:15 p.m. PT.
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