Sept. 27, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina softball begins the fall portion of its season on the softball diamond this weekend when it travels to a tournament hosted by USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C.
Five veteran seniors anchor the Catamounts, all who have extensive experience in the starting line-up. Amber Steinhardt, Haley Pace and Jordan Fulton have been a staple in the starting line-up for Western Carolina since their freshmen seasons. Shemekia Scotton and Robyn Burnette have both proven diversity dotting the line-up in various positions.
Other returning starters include junior outfielder Amelia Griffin and sophomores Megan Crowe, in the infield, catcher Heather Chastain and hurler Jordan Garrett. "The returners are focused and have been excellent examples while teaching our freshman what it is to be a college athlete," said Head Coach Jim Clift.
Clift will also use the fall contests to get the first look at incoming freshmen Karley Harkey, Amber Kimrey, Taylor Sigmon, Sarah Perrine, Mallory Broome and Chandler Terrapin as well as transfer Kayla Myers.
"There are seven newcomers to this year's team and they have helped bring a new sense of competition and intensity," Clift said. "This fall has started off very well. While we have only had a few team practices and our execution is not where we want it to be, the focus and effort being displayed by this squad has been exemplary."
The Catamounts play a pair of games on Saturday, facing Southern Wesleyan at 10 a.m. and Presbyterian at 2 p.m., and come back on Sunday to play USC Sumter at 4 p.m. and SMC at 6 p.m.
"I think we have a great mix of youth, experience and talent," Clift said. "The fall tournament at USC Upstate this weekend should be exciting and hopefully a preview of a great season to come."
Western Carolina will also host a pair of fall dates. On October 4, the Catamounts will take on Mars Hill beginning at 6 p.m. and play a doubleheader with SMC beginning at noon on October 13.
The Catamounts ended the 2012 season with a 24-34 record, the most wins by the team since 2007 when the club had 28 victories. Western Carolina's nine Southern Conference victories were also the most since 2007.