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Outfield Possesses Depth at Every Position

Junior Alice O'Brien started 46 games in right field during UK's record-breaking season in 2011.

Junior Alice O'Brien started 46 games in right field during UK's record-breaking season in 2011.

Feb. 5, 2012

When formulating a scouting report for the 2012 Kentucky softball program an opposing team will likely develop an opinion that UK's outfield has been depleted by the graduation of four-year starters Meagan Aull and Annie Rowlands. That misconception may prove advantageous for the Wildcats in a quest for a fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Yes, one can argue that the Wildcats lost two-thirds of its outfield from a season ago. But, spending three years in a winning program and earning an abundance of playing time throughout a career should not be overlooked. Senior Macy Allen points to team chemistry and the number of hours spent on a practice field as to why the Wildcats won't skip a beat in 2012.

"Even though we all haven't been starters consistently, I think we put in a lot of hours doing defense," Allen said. "We do so many drills in practice; I think that as long as we set our minds to our jobs and stay focused we will be fine."

Allen is joined by fellow senior Erika Silence who despite not serving as an everyday starter made perhaps two of the biggest snags of the entire season a year ago during UK's upset of No. 7 Tennessee.

"If we want to be a top-10 team which we want to be, we can't be letting balls drop, the outfield has to be solid," Allen said.

Junior Alice O'Brien was a right field starter in 46 games a season ago, and sophomore Emily Jolly, in addition to her duties in the infield, will also spend time in center field, a position she played in high school.

 

 

"O'Brien is one of our strongest athletes and provides us with a lot power in the middle of the order," UK coach Rachel Lawson said. "Jolly is one of the best all-around players on our squad and as a result she has made a smooth transition back to the outfield. Both she and Howard have worked hard in the off season and are doing a great job covering ground."

The freshmen contributors are led by California native and an All-State performer in Kara Howard who will likely see an abundance of action in center.

The Wildcats will also have sophomores Ginny Carroll, Emily Gaines and Ellen Weaver providing additional options in the outfield.

"This strong sophomore class is ready to take the next step and lead us during the 2012 season," Lawson said. "Gaines is arguably the most improved athlete on the squad and has had a great offensive preseason. Carroll continues to work hard in transitioning to the outfield and has done a great job competing in the outfield."

Freshmen Amanda Allen and Lindsay Griggs joined the Blue and White in the fall to provide steady depth to the lineup.

"I think when we are all meshing, and having fun together and clicking on all cylinders together, all pulling the wagon in the same direction it makes a huge difference," Allen said. "We always want to move forward and be better so I think progression is the biggest goal, keep moving forward for the program."

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