Softball

    Around the Horn

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!
    News Update

    January 30, 2003

    AROUND THE HORN: A PREVIEW OF THE IU INFIELD

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    The 2003 Indiana University softball season marks a significant new page in the history of the Indiana University softball program. After 15 season with Diane Stephenson at the helm of the Indiana program, the reins have been turned over to Sara Hayes.

    The highly energetic, demanding, and competitive Hayes joins the Indiana program after spending the past two seasons as the head coach at Northern Iowa. A former standout at the University of Notre Dame, Hayes, as an assistant coach at DePaul from 1995-00, was instrumental in turning the Blue Demons into one of the nation's elite programs.

    The new Hoosier head coach inherits a program that was one of the Big Ten's top programs in the mid-1990s but has struggled as of late. With that said, however, Indiana returns two pitchers who combined to start 31 games one year ago. The IU roster also features nine other position players who played extensively in 2001.

    Now for a preview of the IU infield:

    Senior catcher Stormy Hanson (Las Vegas, Nev./Silverado) headlines an experienced infield that could quite possibly be the strength of the squad this spring. Hanson, who played third base last fall, will replace 2001 First-Team All-Big Ten catcher Brooke Monroe behind the plate. Returning starters Heather Suca (Shorewood, Ill./Joliet West) and Kristine Dugan (Las Vegas, Nev./Taft JC) are expected to join Hanson in the lineup.

    Junior first baseman/designated hitter Dawn Ramynke (Placentia, Calif./Sonora) and junior first baseman Valerie White (Torrance, Calif./North) have also played extensively. True freshman Abby Ellis (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) had an impressive fall and will be expected to contribute immediately. Sophomore Ashley Griffiths (Dove Canyon, Calif./Trabuco), who may also see action in the outfield, has solid offensive and defensive ability and has returned to the diamond after not participating this fall. Freshman Lauren Hines (Auburn, Ind./DeKalb) has also displayed offensive firepower and has the ability to contribute.

    Along with the departed Monroe, Hanson was the most productive offensive threat for the Hoosiers in 2002. She led IU in batting average (.355), runs (27), slugging percentage (.616), on-base percentage (.412), and hits (49) and was second on the team in doubles (11). She also hit a career-high seven home runs.

    "Stormy is one of the most dynamic, passionate and determined student-athletes I have ever had a pleasure to work with," said Hayes. "The leadership the she provides is like us having an assistant coach on the playing field."

    Hayes on Hanson:
    "At catcher, we have Stormy (Hanson). Stormy is the biggest and best leader, offensive force, and athlete on the team. She's amazing. She's so determined and she doesn't hesitate to say what she thinks needs to happen. That's actually a great gift for her to bring to this team. She's like having a coach on the field. She directs traffic and she knows what people need to do. She doesn't hesitate to keep them in line. She's wonderful."

    Suca has played extensively throughout her career and has the versatility to play second base, shortstop, and third base. She primarily played second base in 2002, although she did make several appearances at third base. A solid defensive player who is highly competitive in nature, she recorded a career-high batting average of .237 and notched seven extra-base hits in 114 at-bats, including four doubles, two triples and a home run.

    "Heather has the heart of a lion and good vision for what she is doing as an athlete and a student," said Hayes. "She is a wonderful leader for our young team to follow. She has quick feet and great hands, making her an impact player at second base."

    Dugan transferred to IU for the 2002 spring semester and went on to start over 30 games at shortstop. She also saw limited action at second base. While only hitting .157, she displayed solid power with three home runs. She also drove in 10 runs and her defense improved throughout the season as she became acclimated to Big Ten-caliber play.

    "With Kristine increasing her confidence level, she will be a solid defender and a great hitter. She is a hard-nosed player who understands what we need to have happen for this team to play at a higher level."

    Ramynke saw limited action in 2002 but had a solid fall. She has excellent power to all fields and should be a consistent offensive threat for the Hoosiers.

    Hayes on the Indiana infield: "On the infield, we have a lot of different people that can play every position. It could switch up every single game. We as a staff have to talk a lot and find what fits the best and keeps us the most athletic. I think most times what we are going to look to do, because we are pretty solid defensively, is offensive production. They are athletic. They need to improve in their confidence and learn how to play and not worry and think too much while they are playing. Abby Ellis is very athletic and an exciting newcomer to watch. Dawn is going to have a great bat. She made a comment this fall about how relaxed and confident she is. That's really what we are looking for them to do. We'd like them to chill out mentally and approach the game as just that, see it as a game and have fun with it. They need to work hard in practice, feel prepared, and then go play hard. The infield is going to be exciting."



     

     

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