Feb. 12, 2010
QUEENS, N.Y. - The St. John’s softball team will open its season with the Charlotte Round Robin in Charlotte, N.C., on Feb. 13-14. The Red Storm faces East Tennessee State in its season opener on Feb. 13 at 11 a.m. before taking on tournament-host Charlotte at 1 p.m. On Sunday, Feb. 14, STJ plays Liberty at 10 a.m. before closing out the tourney in either the championship or third-place game.
Live stats will be available for free on charlotte49ers.com for all four of the Red Storm’s games. CBS Sports All-Access video is available on the website for the St. John’s vs. Charlotte game for a $9.95 fee.
• The Red Storm trails the all-time series with East Tennessee State, 0-1, and the all-time series vs. Charlotte, 0-1. STJ holds a 3-2 series lead against Liberty.
• St. John’s is looking to win its second-straight season opener. Last year, the Red Storm defeated Temple, 3-2, in the FIU Tournament, ending a three-year losing streak in season openers.
• The Charlotte Round Robin is the first of five tournaments the Red Storm will compete in during the 2010 season. St. John’s next heads to North Charleston, S.C. for the Charleston Southern Tournament on Feb. 19-20. After that, STJ will travel further south to Athens, Ga., for the Seventh Annual Georgia Softball Classic on Feb. 26-28. During spring break the Red Storm will take part in the Univeristy of Arizona Tournament on March 12-14 in Tucson, Ariz. St. John’s final tournament of the regular season is the Coastal Carolina Tournament on March 27-28 in Conway, S.C.
• The 2010 Red Storm features a good mix of experience and rising stars and the squad is poised to continue climbing up the BIG EAST ladder under the direction of fourth-year head coach Amy Kvilhaug. With six newcomers and added to a strong core group of returning players, St. John’s is ready to build upon a 2009 campaign in which the team posted a program-record 11 conference wins and made its first BIG EAST Tournament appearance in three seasons.
• The dynamic pitching duo of juniors Kat Lawrence and Linzee Sumrall was one of the biggest keys to St. John’s success in 2009. Lawrence ranked in the BIG EAST’s top 10 in innings pitched (175.1), strikeouts (199), wins (13), and opposing batting average (.221). Sumrall finished in the conference’s top 10 in innings pitched (154.0), strikeouts (198), and opposing batting average (.236).
• Junior outfielder Chelsea Durning returns as St. John’s leadoff hitter. Durning flourished at the plate last season, ranking second on the team with a .336 batting average. The Chino Hills, Calif., native also ranked in the BIG EAST’s top 10 in run scored (37), doubles (16), on-base percentage (.446) and times hit by a pitch (11).
• Senior first baseman Stacia Dopudja looks to build off of a successful 2009 campaign when she received All-BIG EAST second team honors. Dopudja, who had transferred a year earlier from Southeast Missouri, posted a .266 batting average with seven home runs and 19 RBI.
• With a full season back at catcher, her natural position, under her belt, junior Kacee Cox returns as the team’s top power hitter. Cox posted her second-straight nine-homer season, leading the team in long balls. Her 32 RBI and .490 slugging percentage ranked second on the team.
• Sophomores Kristi Cady and Julia Sanchez stepped up big defensively for the Red Storm during their 2009 freshman campaign. Cady will patrol center field for the second-straight year, using her athleticism to make big plays in the gaps. Sanchez will cover the left-field line, returning as the team’s third baseman.
• Freshmen Chrissy Montez and Amber Curry are expected to make an immediate impact in the Red Storm middle infield and batting order. Montez will man shortstop and Curry will cover second base. Both pack a punch at the plate and will strengthen the STJ offense.
SCOUTING EAST TENNESSEE STATE
• The Buccaneers went 27-28 last season and 8-3 in games at neutral sites.
• ETSU returns some key seniors in 2010. Outfielder/infielder Cheniece Cason led the team in batting average (.345) and stolen base in 2009. Utility player Katy Jett led the team with 59 hits and 34 runs scored.
• The Buccaneers also return their top two pitchers. Senior Marissa Hardy led the team in wins (17), ERA (1.93), and strikeouts (184). Senior Darci Gilbert posted eight wins, a 2.06 ERA and 45 strikeouts.
• The 49ers went 33-16 in 2009 with a 21-11 slate at home.
• Charlotte heads into the 2010 season with its two top hitters from last year in tow. Outfielder Serena Smith had a team-high .363 batting average and led the 49ers with 37 RBI. Catcher Tenaya Tucker was second on the team with a .327 batting average and 29 RBI.
• The 49ers return their ace in the circle from a year ago in Emily Jeffery. Jeffery notched a 23-9 record with a 1.39 ERA and 294 strikeouts in 2009.
• The Flames went 26-35 last season and 9-8 at neutral sites.
• Liberty’s strength on offense lies on the left side of its infield with J’nae Jefferson and Kelly Strickland. Jefferson, the third baseman, hit .274 in 2009 with 19 RBI, 16 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases. Strickland, the shortstop, posted a .271 batting average with 25 RBI and 17 extra-base hits.
• The Flames’ top returning pitcher is Tiffani Smith, who went 12-12 with a 2.21 ERA and 173 strikeouts in 2009.