ND Softball: Squad begins season in Charlotte
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 8, 2013 02:02
This weekend, the Irish finally break free from indoor practice and travel to Charlotte, N.C., for the Charlotte Fast Pitch Classic. The season-opening slate includes two games Saturday against Wisconsin and Charlotte and two games Sunday against the Badgers and Presbyterian.
The Irish finished 40-16 last year, concluding the season with an 8-3 loss to Arizona on the final day of the NCAA Regionals. Notre Dame enters this season ranked second in the Big East preseason poll, sitting behind only defending Big East champion South Florida.
The Irish return a majority of last year’s squad, including 2012 National Fastpitch Association All-American senior catcher Amy Buntin and Big East Pitcher of the Year junior Laura Winter. The squad will also look to senior outfielder Kelsey Thornton and junior infielder Chloe Saganowich, who were both named to the 2012 All-Big East second team, for leadership.
Five freshmen also join the roster this season.
“I believe each freshman will make valuable contributions to our program this year,” Buntin said. “We will especially look for [pitcher] Allie Rhodes to have a big impact in the circle for us this year. Everyone else will definitely let their names be known with their bats.”
Buntin and Thornton will lead the Irish as captains this season. Infielders Kathryn Lux and Jackie Bowe and pitcher Brittany O’Donnell round out the returning senior class. “We are all very excited and ready to get outside on the dirt this weekend,” Buntin said. “We have had several weeks of practice so we are all ready to take it to the field.”
Notre Dame looks forward to emerging from the offseason and showcasing its hard work after months of indoor training.
“Our main focus this offseason has been building our confidence and bringing a presence to the field and to each at bat,” Buntin said. “Physically we are more than ready to take on any opponent, so we wanted to focus a little more on our mental game.”
The Irish begin play in Charlotte, N.C. at the Charlotte Fast Pitch Classic on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. against Wisconsin followed by Charlotte at noon. They continue the action Sunday against Wisconsin at 10 a.m. followed by with a game against Presbyterian at noon.
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