2014 Softball Season Outlook: Outfield
Returning: Seniors Alex Jones and Taylor Hatfield
New: Sophomore Shannon McGinley, Freshmen Taylor Dodson, Katelyn Schumacher, Lily Behrmann and Taylor McElhaney
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Just days away from the start of the 2014 season, Kansas softball will preview each position in a four-part series. The second installment of the 2014 season outlook includes the Jayhawk outfield.
The Kansas outfield has big shoes to fill as Maggie Hull rewrote the Jayhawks’ record book, graduated and went on to play professionally at the conclusion of the 2013 season. Head coach Megan Smith has a mixture of veterans and newcomers to choose from to fill the lineup. Luckily, KU can rely on veteran Alex Jones, who returns as a fifth-year senior and three-time team captain to take charge of the outfield.
In 2013, Jones started 42 games in center field and posted a career-best season at the plate with a .324 batting average and 43 runs scored. After recording 56 hits last season, Jones became the only Jayhawk on the team with 50 or more hits in each of her seasons at Kansas. She collected 14 assists from center field, while committing only three errors.
Senior Taylor Hatfield joins the Jayhawks in the outfield in 2014. Hatfield recorded 24 at-bats in 2013, mostly as the designated player or in pinch hitting roles. She tallied four RBIs and six hits over the course of the season.
New faces to KU’s outfield include Taylor Dodson, Katelyn Schumacher and Shannon McGinley. Dodson joins the Jayhawks from Grove, Okla., where she was named her high school’s offensive player of the year four times. As a sophomore, Dodson set a single season home run record after knocking out 13 long balls.
Schumacher and McGinely will provide depth and a strong arm to Kansas’ outfield. Schumacher, a Hays, Kan., native, was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year during her sophomore season at Hays High School. She hit .563 and recorded a fielding percentage of .977 as a sophomore. McGinley returns to her home state to join the Jayhawks after playing her freshman season at Virginia. An outfielder from Prairie Village, Kan., McGinley started 40 games for the Cavaliers, recording 21 hits and 10 RBIs to go along with four stolen bases.
Freshman Lily Behrmann also joins Kansas’ outfield for the upcoming season. During her final season at Blue Valley West, Behrmann recorded the Jaguar’s highest batting average and named all-conference first team. Fellow Newcomer Taylor McElhaney rounds out the outfield and will play center field when Jones heads to the circle.
KU softball opens the 2014 season on Feb. 7 at Central Florida and will spend the first five weeks of the season on the road before hosting the Jayhawk Invitational March 14-16 at Arrocha Ballpark.
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