TROY, Ala. - The Troy softball team wrapped up its first week of practice in preparation for the 2013 season. The Trojans return 11 letter winners and welcome 10 newcomers to this year's team.
"We had an excellent week in terms of effort and coach ability, but we also see and were able to identify things we need to work on but I think that's just putting our time in over the next month in preparation for the first tournament, " Troy softball head coach Melanie Davis said about her ball club.
Despite losing six starters, Troy returns several players with experience and the Trojans return the sophomore pitching trio of Ashley Rainey, Jaycee Affeldt and Sarah Thomas. As freshman, the group combined to pick up 29 of Troy's 31 wins.
In her first season, Rainey logged 211 innings in the circle, picked up 17 wins and was selected to the All-Sun first team last season. At the plate, the Tuscaloosa, Ala. native blasted four home runs and drove in 22 runs.
Affeldt served as a two-way player in 2012 and posted a 9-9 record in the circle in 2012, while hitting .270 with seven doubles, a home run and 20 RBIs. Thomas made 20 appearances last season, picked up two saves and finished 3-2 with 39 strikeouts in 40.2 innings pitched.
"I think they all did some tremendous things for us last year, but looking at where they are I think people are going to be happy about what they see," Davis said. "We have a lot of different looks our pitchers can give and that's always a plus in keeping off balance."
Senior catcher Hannah Renn returns as Troy's leading hitter from 2012. In her first season as a Trojan, the junior hit .270 with eight doubles, two triples and seven home runs, while driving in 16 RBIs. On the base paths, she swiped 12 stolen bases, the third-most of any Trojan last season.
The Trojans will look to several key contributors from last year's squad to replace four-year starters Hayden Gann, Nikki Hollett and Sarah Shields. The trio combined to hit .306 and posted 18 home runs and drove in 80 RBIs.
Senior infielder Bailey Blake returns at shortstop after making 40 starts a year ago, while senior Caitlin Ortiz, junior Taylor Smartt, sophomore Madison Rich and freshman Chandler Griffin all look to be contributors in the infield.
The Trojans look to replace an entire outfield in 2013 after losing starters Sarah Harris, Kelly Luquette and Michelle Hewett to graduation in the offseason. Juniors Ebony Wright and Kacie McAllister, sophomore Chelsea Eytel and freshman Bria Epps, Amanda Winters, Keelie Housley all provide depth for Troy in the outfield.
Troy opens up the 2013 season in Starkville, Miss. at the Bulldog Kickoff Classic on February 8 against Georgia State with first pitch set for 10 a.m. The Trojans host the Quality Inn Classic at the Troy Softball Complex the following weekend, February 15-17. Admission to the Troy Softball Complex is free.