KU Season Outlook: Behind the Plate

Jan. 26, 2007

Behind the Plate
Kansas boasts more depth at catcher than it has seen in years. Three quality sophomore receivers return behind the plate in 2007 — Elle Pottorf (Topeka, Kan.), Erika Simington (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Tiffany Craner (Paola, Kan.).

Pottorf returns after taking a medical redshirt year off for shoulder surgery. Her playing time will depend on how well her body will handle the wear and tear of the season.

“Elle has worked very hard to get back,” KU head coach Tracy Bunge said. “Defensively, she is a great receiver and is a solid hitter. She may see time as the designated player.”

Simington and Craner split time behind the plate in 2006 and both bring great defensive skills to the position.

“Erika has one of the best work ethics on the team,” Bunge added. “She is also battling some injuries that set her back in late fall, so we’ll have to see how she holds up. Craner did a lot of great things for us last year. She is a super receiver who needs to improve on the offensive end.”

About the Jayhawks
Coming off its first-ever Big 12 Conference Postseason Championship and second-straight NCAA Regionals bid, Kansas softball is no stranger to recent success. However, with six departed seniors — including All-American Serena Settlemier — and eight newcomers, the Jayhawks will have a new look in 2007.

KU began spring practice on Jan. 15 — but without three Jayhawks who were delayed by travel due to severe winter weather throughout the country. The Jayhawks soon got back on track and are making the best of practicing indoors. With less than three and a half weeks to practice together as a squad, KU opens the season Feb. 8 at the Campbell-Cartier Classic in a warmer San Diego, Calif.

The Jayhawks return 10 letterwinners this season, which consist of six underclassmen, two juniors and two seniors. KU’s top returner, senior pitcher Kassie Humphreys (Glendale, Ariz.), had a breakthrough season in 2006 and comes back as one of the top hurlers in the Big 12.

“It’s going to be fun to watch this group evolve,” KU head coach Tracy Bunge said. “They have great chemistry. Our strength is going to be our pitching staff and we are very solid at that position.”

Coming soon: Youth In the Infield