Saluki Softball to open 2022 fall slate on Saturday

September 14, 2022

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CARBONDALE, Sick. — The Southern Illinois College softball staff opens its fall season with a doubleheader at Charlotte West Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 17 towards John A. Logan and Three Rivers Group Faculty. The Salukis and the Volunteers will play at 12 p.m. earlier than SIU takes on the Raiders at 2 p.m.

Saturday’s doubleheader would be the first of four-straight weekend doubleheaders for the Salukis, who’re underneath the path of first-year head coach Jen Sewell. Sewell took the reins from legendary head coach Kerri Blaylock on an interim foundation in March and was formally named this system’s third-ever head coach on Could 16, 2022. 

Sewell assembled her teaching employees, as she introduced again SIU Corridor of Famer Mary Jo Firnbach as her affiliate head coach. Kenzi Bennett, who has been at SIU since 2015, will function SIU’s pitching coach whereas Carbondale, Sick. native Olivia Clark-Kittleson will likely be Sewell’s Director of Operations. Blaylock will even stay within the fold, albeit on a volunteer foundation.

“By way of general recreation administration, we’ve principally received two head coaches in myself and Mary Jo,” Sewell mentioned. “Mary Jo has an unbelievable teaching resume and might be the most effective third baseman in program historical past. The entire groups she has coached throughout her profession have stolen 100-plus bases. Everytime you confronted her groups you had to have the ability to throw runners out and we cannot be any totally different. Kenzi will deal with our pitchers and catchers and assist with pitch calling. She was UT Martin’s No. 1 pitcher and hit in the course of the lineup for energy throughout her OVC profession so she’s going to proceed to have a big impression on all that we do.”

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And whereas SIU’s teaching employees will make the most of the autumn to see how the brand new Salukis alter to the velocity of the collegiate recreation, it is going to additionally function a time to see returners play a number of positions so as to treatment final season’s harm woes that noticed Southern have to regulate its lineup and play gamers at positions they’d not performed in fairly a while.

“We attempt to go recreation velocity as a lot as doable in order that the spring season is not such a shock,” Sewell mentioned. “We’ve such a tricky RPI schedule in February that we will actually get wowed by the schedule earlier than they’ve even found out what they’ve gotten themselves into. I instructed our staff that I might love everybody, not together with our pitching employees, to play two positions so if we ever get within the mess we have been in final yr we will make some fast swaps and simply preserve proper on rolling. By far that is essentially the most utility staff we have had since I have been right here when it comes to gamers having the ability to play a number of positions.”

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The Salukis return 14 letter winners from a yr in the past, which incorporates seven that began 20 or extra video games in 2022. The returners are highlighted by a pair of All-MVC picks from final season in Rylie Hamilton and Elizabeth Warwick. Hamilton completed third within the Valley in hits (57) and fifth in batting common (.351) final season whereas Warwick completed fourth within the MVC in RBI (37) and tenth in doubles (10).

Southern additionally welcomes a plethora of newcomers to the combo together with Jackie Lis, Haley Wilkerson, Anna Carder, Erin Lee, Hannah Hockerman, Elliott Stinson, and Sidney Jones. Sewell and her employees hope to provide Saluki followers loads of alternatives this fall to see them play.

“The purpose is to play everybody, not essentially equally, however as a lot time as we will get them in,” Sewell mentioned. “We did not schedule as many DI packages this fall as a result of we’re nonetheless making an attempt to get considered one of our pitchers wholesome and in addition as a result of we’re pretty new up the center of the sector. We have to put the puzzle a bit collectively earlier than we throw them on the market and say “go”. They’re a fast studying group and so they aren’t scared off by choosing up one thing new or the velocity of the sport.”

The 2022 Salukis have a number of positions that they might want to fill on account of commencement. Ashley Wooden, who began over 120 video games at shortstop throughout her profession is gone, as is final season’s beginning catcher Sidney Sikes. All-Area choice Jenny Jansen, who performed all around the diamond throughout her five-year Saluki profession which included stints at third base, shortstop, second base, first base, outfield, and pitcher, additionally graduated.

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“We have simply been making an attempt to reset at a few positions which might be key for us, on the mound and within the center infield particularly but additionally behind the plate,” Sewell mentioned. “We even have a few injured gamers who we try to get wholesome. We’re half-new and half-old. Day-after-day is a chance to find out about each other.”

Southern’s fall season kicks off Saturday with a doubleheader towards JALC (12 p.m.) and Three Rivers (2 p.m.). SIU will tackle Lake Land (2 p.m.) and Maryville (4 p.m.) on Sunday, Sept. 25, earlier than internet hosting JALC (12 p.m.) and Jefferson Faculty (4 p.m.) on Sunday, Oct. 2. The Salukis will tackle St. Louis College (11 a.m.) earlier than closing out their fall schedule towards Parkland Faculty (1 p.m.) on Saturday, Oct. 8.