Tigers Excited About Strong 2010 Pitching Class
Jan. 12, 2010
By: Preston McClellan, Undergraduate Intern
Entering the second day of preseason training, players are reminded of the hard work and grinding that competing at the highest level requires. Faces of excitement and anxiousness from the first day are replaced with faces of soreness and determination. For Coach Windy Thees' squad, it's time to get down to business, and they know it.
The addition junior Lauren Carley and freshmen Carly Hummel in the circle gives Coach Thees' her deepest pitching rotation since the inception of the program in 2005. Thees feels confident that the addition of these players complemented with returnees Janelle Valle and Vanessa Walle will help the Tigers attain new heights in 2010.
"We have a strong pitching staff this year," Valle said. "I think we're going to do really well this year."
"I like that we have almost a pitcher per class," Thees added. "We have a senior, two juniors and a freshman. I like the differences of where they are all at in their careers, and they can play off each other. The senior can get the excitement and passion from the freshman and the freshman can learn from the juniors and senior what games are like; big games, how to calm yourself down, the strain of the season.
"Our pitchers are very different," continued Thees. "I love that. We've got girls whose strength is the drop ball. We've got girls whose strength is the rise ball. We've got some curve/screw kids. I like that each of our pitchers brings something different to the team."
And despite the cold January weather, Valle said the pitching staff is progressing through the start of preseason workouts.
"Being from California where it was like 80 (degrees) over Christmas, coming back here it's a little colder right now, but I'm used to it," Valle said. "I think we're dealing with it really well now."
Valle and Walle Return to Add Experience to Pitching Staff
Walle joined the U of M in 2008 after helping lead Phoenix College to back-to-back Division II NJCAA championships. The right hander went 8-11 with a 3.42 ERA in 2009 and struck out 69 batters in 122.2 innings of work.
Hummel and Carley Set to Make Impact in the Circle in 2010
Hummel lettered three years as a pitcher and shortstop under Coach Jerry Dumatralt at Ridgeview High School. A three-time all-league selection, Hummel carried a 0.42 ERA her junior year and has 18 career no hitters. A bicep injury forced her to miss her entire senior season, but Hummel says she is healthy and ready to compete this spring.
"My arms good right now, but I'm a little sore from the last two practices we've had," Hummel said. "For the most part, it's good. I'm excited to get back into a rhythm and get started."
During the fall, Hummel combined with Walle to throw a no hitter against Alcorn State in her exhibition debut. Hummel did not allow a hit in her first 9 2/3 innings of work in the fall, and recorded 20 strikeouts in 10 innings of work with one hit allowed.
Hummel said the transition to the college level has been made easier due to the Memphis catching staff.
"All three of the catchers are really good," Hummel said. "They understand and know what they're doing. It's nice to have somebody back there who gives you positive feedback instead of just being alone by yourself because a lot of times you get catchers that are quite and a little laid back, but these girls all give you feedback. It's really nice to have flowing feedback from behind the plate."
Carley transfers from Henderson State after lettering for one year there. While at Henderson State, she led the Lady Reddies as a freshman in 2008 with a 21-8 record and a 1.97 ERA in 26 starts and struck out 133 batters in 184.1 innings. Carley had six shutouts and 16 complete games and helped the NCAA Division II team finish 39-16 and 19-10 in the Gulf South Conference. She was also a 2008 All-Gulf South Conference Softball First Team selection in the West Division.
After sitting out the 2009 season and 2009 fall due to transfer guidelines, Carley is ready to provide valuable experience to this year's team. In her first appearance in a Tiger uniform during the team's intersquad contest in the fall, Carley struck out five in four innings and gave up three earned runs on three hits.
Freshman utility Morgan Mosby could also factor into the pitching rotation during the 2010 season. Mosby is a four-time letterwinner at SBEC in Southaven, Miss., and was named the Commercial Appeal's Best of Preps Private School Female Athlete of the Year in 2009. She finished the 2008 season with a 17-6 record in the circle with 182 strikeouts, while hitting .610.
On Wednesday, GoTigersGo.com will preview the catchers.