Kansas Softball Announces Fall Schedule
Sept. 13, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Head coach Megan Smith and her staff will waste no time preparing for the upcoming 2012 season as the program announced its fall exhibition schedule Tuesday afternoon.
The Jayhawks, who posted a 31-22 record in 2011, have been hitting the field at Arrocha Ballpark for individual practices since reporting to campus in August. On Sept. 19, Smith will conduct her first team practice of the 2011-12 season.
The fall exhibition schedule, finalized late last week, will provide a game environment that will help Smith and her coaching staff evaluate the team’s progress throughout the early-season practices.
“The fall schedule gives us a chance to see our players on the field in game situations,” Smith said. “That’s the whole point and it’s the way we approach the fall. We use those games as practices to see our girls playing different positions so we get an idea of what we can move forward with.”
Kansas will kick off the fall slate against Johnson County Community College on Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. The following weekend, the Jayhawks will host the KU Fall Invite on Oct. 2. They will face area schools Washburn and Butler County Community College during the Saturday-only tournament.
On Oct. 6, KU is scheduled to meet Baker University for a Thursday night game before wrapping up the fall with the Jayhawk Invitational on Oct. 16. Labette Community College and Seminole State will round out the fall slate.
This season, Smith has six pitchers in her arsenal and plans to use each of them in the six games on the fall schedule. The third-year head coach says the fall has little bearing on her decisions for the spring lineup, but she and her staff do make several observations regarding each player’s response to in-game situations and adjustments. Although she uses the games as practices, she knows they mean more than that.
“We use them that way, but it’s certainly different than practice – especially for the girls,” Smith said. “The freshmen in particular since it marks the first time they put the jersey on to go out there and represent Kansas. So it’s an exciting time for them and for us.”
Entering the last week of individual practices, Smith is happy with what she sees so far in this year’s squad. The coaching staff has been able to pick up where they left off a year ago with the returning core and is pleased with the progress they see among the freshmen.
“When we start team practice next week we will really be able to hit the ground running,” Smith said. “They’re working hard and they’re enthusiastic. Our upperclassmen are really stepping up as leaders and our freshmen are eager to be out there learning. We’re really about excited that.”