2012 Trinity Softball Preview
The Trinity Tigers will have nine returning starters leading the way as they take the field Feb. 11 by hosting Concordia (Texas) in a season-opening doubleheader.
If last year’s performance is any indication of the future, the 2012 Tigers should be destined for a successful campaign. Head Coach Selena Collins guided Trinity to its first Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference final in four years, racking up a 10-6 SCAC record along the way.
Coach Collins, beginning her second year at the Tigers helm, believes the fans will be impressed with her Trinity charges.
“The fans will see the players come out and compete,” said Coach Collins. “Not only do we have speed, we also have some big bats. Our goals are set even higher than last year’s - we want to take it one game at a time, win the SCAC Tournament, and get into the (NCAA Division III) World Series.”
Trinity wrapped up the 2011 campaign by winning six of its last seven regular-season games.
The Tigers entered the SCAC Tournament, held at DePauw in Greencastle, Ind., as the No. 3 seed in the West Division. The double-elimination event began with Trinity shutting out Rhodes (No. 2 East) 3-0. The Tigers then edged defending champion Southwestern (No. 1 West) 2-1 in the second game, before losing to DePauw (No. 1 East) 4-1. They weren’t finished, however, as the Tigers again beat Southwestern, 7-1, setting up a rematch with DePauw in the final. The Indiana Tigers, who have since left the conference, prevailed 3-2 in a tightly played game. Trinity completed the season with a 21-24 overall record.
When the dust settled, a total of eight Trinity players were elected to the All-SCAC Team, including five returnees.
Senior outfielder Karen MacPherson (Allen, Texas/Allen) was named to the All-SCAC Second Team. MacPherson made the all-conference team for the third straight year, and was also selected for the All-Tournament Team. The speedy MacPherson became the SCAC and Trinity’s all-time leader stolen base leader, with 84 during her career (24 during the 2011 season). She led the Tiger team with a .344 batting average, and in runs scored, with 35. MacPherson also cracked two home runs. She is ranked fourth in Trinity career batting average (.370).
Sophomore shortstop Brooke Sanchez (San Antonio/Marshall) was one of five returning players named to the All-SCAC Honorable Mention Team. Sanchez was second in Trinity batting, at .341. Megan Russell (Fort Worth, Texas/Boswell), a sophomore first baseman, became a two-time All-SCAC honoree, as well as earning All-Tournament honors. Russell hit .329, and led the Tigers in RBI, with 34, while swatting 11 doubles and two home runs.
Kayleigh Kinlaw (China Spring, Texas/China Spring), a sophomore third baseman, hit .324, and chalked up 21 RBI. Senior outfielder Rachel Garrett (Round Rock, Texas/Round Rock), has now been elected three times to an All-SCAC Team. Garrett registered a batting average of .300, scored 26 runs, and stole 24 bases (tied for the team lead). She is tied for eighth in Trinity career batting average (.329).
Three returning starters are junior outfielder Lindsay Weyand (Allen, Texas/Allen), sophomore infielder Chrissy Armstrong (Riverside, Calif./Ramona), and junior infielder/catcher Becca Rush (Sugar Land, Texas/Travis). Weyand batted .243, hit 14 RBI, and scored 15 runs. Armstrong hit .233, and produced 14 runs for the Tigers. Rush, who hit nine RBI, was an effective defensive player, with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
Junior right-hander Sydney Friday (Sugar Land, Texas/The Kinkaid School) returns as a starter on the pitcher’s mound. Friday hurled 131 innings, and sported an 8-11 record, as well as picking up a save. She struck out 83 opponents during the season, and had a 3.05 earned run average.
Also back to lead the Tigers to bigger heights is junior third baseman Nicole Powers (Pearland, Texas/Alvin).
“There were a lot of positives last season,” Coach Collins added. “Our players came ready to play each day, and put forth their best effort. That was inspiring to me as a coach.”
Two talented newcomers have joined the Tiger softball ranks.
Caitlynn Dykes (Port Neches, Texas/Port Neches Groves) has been elected as a First Team All-District catcher for the past two years. She finished the season with a team-high .436 batting average, along with smacking 37 RBI. The versatile Lauren Mercado (Houston/Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart), can play second base, outfield, and pitch. Mercado was selected for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools All-State First Team.
Second-year Assistant Coach Brandi Crnkovic believes this will be a highly effective recruiting class.
“The freshmen will add a lot of depth to the team,” Coach Crnkovic said. “We have a catcher coming in, Caitlynn Dykes. She will push the pitchers every day and challenge them to be better than the last pitch. Lauren (Mercado) will be seeing time on the mound as well as in the outfield. She will be a great addition to our team this year. ”
The Tigers will host games on 10 playing dates during the season. Following the opener with Concordia, Trinity plays host to Schreiner on Feb. 22. East Texas Baptist, ranked 14th in the nation, comes to campus Feb. 25. Texas-Tyler, the No. 2 team in the NCAA Division III, meets the Tigers March 13.
Trinity takes on the University of Dallas in SCAC home games March 24-25, and Southwestern April 21-22. Houston-Victoria, ranked 10th in the NAIA, visits Trinity April 12.
The Tigers travel a short distance to play Division II member University of the Incarnate Word on Feb. 28. Coach Collins will lead Trinity to her home state of Arizona March 16-17, for the Tucson Invitational.
The SCAC Tournament is slated for April 27-29 at Jackson, Tenn. The tournament winner earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals, at a site to be determined. Teams which emerge from Regionals will advance to the NCAA Championship Tournament May 18-22 at Salem, Va.