2012 Kansas Softball Season Preview: Outfielders

Feb. 6, 2012

Maggie Hull, Jr. (2011: .346 BA, 49 RBIs, 9 HR)
Rosie Hull, Jr. (2011: 32 starts in RF, .244 BA)
Liz Kocon, RS Sr. (2011: 53 starts at DP/RF, .322 BA, 14 HR)
Elsa Moyer, So. (2011: 19 appearances, 5 R)

Julie Jenks (2011: 10 starts in CF)
Alex Jones, Jr., injury (2011: 53 starts, .293 BA, 15 SB)

Cassen Salamone, Fr. (2011: .568 BA, 24 SB | Spring, Texas | Klein Oak HS)
Maddie Stein, Fr. (2011: .509 BA, 21 2B, .750 SLG | El Reno HS | El Reno, Okla.)

LAWRENCE, Kan. – In the third of a four-part Kansas softball season preview, the outfielders are the highlight as the Jayhawks welcome back an All-Big 12 Second Team left fielder and the team’s home run leader to lead the 2012 outfield squad.

In contrast to a young battery, the Jayhawk outfielders will feature a solid core of returners while adding a dose of instant help by way of a capable freshman. Junior Maggie Hull was awarded All-Big 12 Second Team last season after leading the team with a .346 batting average and 49 RBIs. Liz Kocon, who drilled a team-best 14 home runs to help the Jayhawks break their all-time single-season home run record in 2011, also returns for her redshirt senior season.

One major difference, however, will be felt in centerfield. During the fall season, would-be junior Alex Jones tore her ACL, ending her streak of 106-consecutive games played through her first two seasons and robbing the Jayhawks of their starting centerfielder/pitcher. Both Jones and head coach Megan Smith refuse to let the injury hinder the potential in KU’s outfield. Despite the injury, Jones will provide leadership and guidance from the dugout this season.

The depth that Kansas has in the outfield will help soften the blow caused by Jones’ loss. Hull, and twin sister Rosie, bring back resumes solid enough to keep them in left and right field, respectively. Maggie started all 53 games in left and led the outfielders with 70 putouts. Rosie, who led the team in batting average in 2010, started more than 30 games in right field and committed just one error last season.

Kocon split her playing time between right field and designated player last season and will likely do so again in 2012. With 28 career homers to her name, Kocon’s bat will not be kept out of the lineup.

Without Jones, sophomore Elsa Moyer and freshman Cassen Salamone stand out as the primary candidates for centerfield. Smith gives each of them credit for their speed, which serves them well on the base paths and patrolling the outfield. The head coach recognized Moyer for having the best arm on the team, while citing Salamone with the intangible outfield instincts.

Kansas officially opens the 2012 season against Tennessee-Martin on Friday, Feb. 10 at 12:30 pm CT. The matchup marks the first of five games the Jayhawks will play at the Southeastern Lion Classic in Hammond, La., Feb. 10-12.

Head Coach Megan Smith
On losing Alex Jones to injury for the 2012 season:
“Losing Alex Jones hurts us; she’s been our starting centerfielder and our leadoff batter for two years. It’s time for other people to step up and that’s the way we look at it. We’ve got Cassen Salamone, who is a very talented outfielder. She has good instincts and is very smooth when you watch her out there. She has stepped in and done a good job this fall. Elsa Moyer worked all last year and came back this fall and has really proven that she wants to be out there. We will move on with who we have and we’re confident in those people.”

On bringing back proven experience in the outfield:
“The Hull twins have improved tremendously. Maggie’s aggressiveness is always there. She just attacks the game, which is what we want all of our players to do, and she does it on a daily basis. Rosie is very steady in the outfield and has shown a lot of improvement this fall. We also have Liz Kocon back out there, who has great experience and really solid fundamentals in the outfield. Our outfield is strong and has improved a lot.”