2013 Season Outlook: Outfielders
Jan. 31, 2013
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the final segment of the Kansas softball season outlook, KUAthletics.com analyzes the most veteran piece of the team, the outfield.Serving as team captain as well as the Jayhawks’ primary source of mental toughness and offensive consistency is senior Maggie Hull. At the end of the 2012 regular season, Hull led the Big 12 with her .409 batting average which also brought down the Kansas single-season record (.400, 1979). Her 46 runs scored tied KU’s single-season record, while her 14 doubles led the team and tied for third in the conference.
Joining her is twin sister, Rosie, who made 37 starts in 2012 between right field and designated player. Head coach Megan Smith commended Rosie for her offseason work to improve her arm strength and defensive abilities as her senior season approaches.
A season-ending ACL tear a year ago kept Alex Jones from joining the Hulls in the 2013 senior class, but the inspirational team captain used the setback for a good cause as she served as a team captain from the dugout in 2012. Not only did Jones bring her leadership mentality to the field each day, she also mentored junior Elsa Moyer, guiding her to become an everyday Big 12 centerfielder.
Jones, a career .297 hitter with 106-consecutive starts under her belt before her injury, will add depth to an already deep outfield roster. In Jones’ place last season, Moyer hit .295, moved to the leadoff spot and led the team with five outfield assists in her first year as a starter. Smith pegged Moyer as the best arm on the team and combines that with speed and range.
Also quick to stand in when needed is sophomore Cassen Salamone. In the first part of the 2012 season, she and Moyer rotated at the centerfield position before Moyer won the starting job. Salamone, however, never lost her value and is dependable in key offensive situations. A native of Spring, Texas, Salamone played a valuable role as a pinch runner and crossed the plate 10 times in 2012.
Though the outfield is the most veteran crew on the 2013 roster, freshman Alex Hugo has the potential to make her mark here, as well. Not only does Hugo come in with catching and infield experience, her speed and arm strength make her a viable threat as an outfielder if needed. The Olathe, Kan., native hit .500 with 39 RBIs en route to becoming the 2012 Sunflower League Player of the Year, so wherever she ends up, the rookie will be in the lineup.
HEAD COACH Megan Smith
On the outfield being the deepest position:
“This is the first time since I’ve been here that I have to make a decision as to who’s going to play outfield. We’ve got some really good outfielders. We have speed, they’ve worked hard to improve the defensive part of things, have lots of experience and then we’re also gaining back Alex Jones. We missed her last year. Elsa Moyer did a great job in centerfield last year, but we missed Alex’s presence and what she brings to the team. We still have the Hulls (Maggie and Rosie), who are solid offensively and do an excellent job. We have Cassen Salamone, who is one that every time she’s given a chance, she produces.”
On the outfielders relishing the chance to compete for a spot:
“They seem to enjoy doing that and they push each other, but they’re still very supportive of each other. It’s been fun to see Alex back out there and Elsa with a year (of starting) under her belt out there. Rosie Hull has improved tremendously. She’s a senior and she’s still improving, which is always nice to see. We also have Alex Hugo that can go out there. We’re very deep at that position with lots of options.”
On the return of Big 12 batting leader Maggie Hull:
“It’ll be sad when we can’t say that. She looked good again this fall. What can we say about what she’s done, and we hope her senior year will be her best year. She will make sure it is; she’s that type of person. We’re excited to have her back, she’ll be our leader offensively. We’ve got a lot of young talent, but in terms of our offense, our two seniors are going to lead us in Maggie and Mia (Montgomery).”
The Kansas softball media day is schedule for Friday, Feb. 1 in the softball locker room. Interviews will begin at 1:30 p.m. Kansas opens the season against North Carolina State in the first of five games at the Florida Atlantic Invitational, Feb. 8-10.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.