With softball season right around the corner, the expectations for Samford’s softball team are high. The Bulldogs were picked first in the SoCon preseason poll, edging out UNCG for the honor. The team received four first-place votes from SoCon coaches, and various team players were also awarded preseason awards.
Pitcher McKenzie Newcomb was named Preseason Pitcher of the Year and received first-team All-SoCon honors. The 2022 SoCon Freshman of the Year is looking to build on her stellar campaign last season, where she had a 21-8 record and a SoCon-best 1.86 ERA.
Gwynnie Hornibrook and Jordyn Partain were named second-team All-SoCon, as they are two key pieces that will look to round out a deep roster. Hornibrook and Partain made the All-Freshman Team last year, with Hornibrook batting .246 with six home runs and 16 RBIs and Partain compiling an 11-9 record with 74 strikeouts.
Sarah Squillace, who batted .302 and scored 37 runs, will also return for her sophomore season and believes that the team has gelled well together.
“Our returners have done a great job making the freshmen feel welcome,” Squillace said.
Newcomb echoed this sentiment.
“I believe our work ethic and the family atmosphere that we have differentiates us from past teams”, Newcomb said.
The hope for Samford this year is that a rigorous nonconference schedule will prepare them well for SoCon play. Samford has matchups against four preseason Top 25 teams: Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, and Ole Miss. In addition, two teams (Alabama and Georgia) are in the Top 10. These are all tough tests that will prove the Bulldogs’ mettle.
Samford’s softball squad last year ultimately fell short in the SoCon Tournament. However, with returning key players and a demanding nonconference schedule, the Bulldogs will look to continue Samford Athletics’ championship hot streak.
Staff Writer (Sports)