Senior pitcher Kayla Harris and the Blazers start their fall season on Tuesday.
Sept. 8, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The UAB softball team will begin its preparations for the 2009 season with the start of their fall season on Tuesday.
"This is a chance for us to work hard," said head coach Marla Townsend. "You get to find out what you and you're teammates are made of."
Nine newcomers and 10 returnees will suit up for the Blazers who finished 24-35 in 2008.
Over the next few weeks, the team will be evaluated by Townsend and her coaching staff and will participate in some off field team building activities.
"Right now we want to see where everyone is at," Townsend said. "We want to have an idea where everybody stands so when we leave fall practice, we'll know what areas everyone needs to work on."
Ten returning players, including five key players, are looking to make some noise at the top of the Conference USA. Senior Andrea Rogers, junior Cameron Skates, and sophomores Laura Callaway and Caley Walden return to the line up, with senior Kayla Harris taking her place on the mound.
"We expect our two seniors to make an impact," said Townsend. "Both on the field and off. We are also looking for some younger players to step up into those leadership roles."
Rogers led the team with a .298 batting average and a .416 on-base percentage. Skates was second on the team in doubles (11) and RBI (20), while batting .244 a season ago. Callaway and Walden were named to the 2008 CUSA All-Freshman team. Harris will return as a dual threat on the mound and at the plate. She was named to the All-Magic City Classic Tournament team, where she produced four doubles, five hits and two runs.
"Kayla will be on the field for us," said Townsend. "If she's not pitching, she'll be in the infield. She's a great player that we will need to rely on."
Of the eight new faces to the roster, seven are freshmen and one a college transfer. They will complete the roster along with a number of players who saw a significant amount of action on the field last season.
"I'm excited to see them out on the field," said Townsend. "We've brought in a lot of talent this year."
The Blazers will hold their seventh annual Blazer Bash on Friday Sept. 19, followed by the annual alumni game on Saturday Sept. 20 at George Ward Park. They will also take part in a tournament at Jacksonville State on Sept. 27. On Oct. 3, the Blazers will play a double header against Jefferson State and Alabama Southern, before hosting their own fall tournament on Oct. 11. To wrap up the fall season the team will take part in the "Knocking Cancer of the Ballpark" tournament benefiting the Children's Hospital at Samford University on Oct. 18.