2008 Softball Preview
Feb. 3, 2008
This is third in a four-part series previewing the 2008 softball season.Today's series takes a look at the Washington infielders and the designated player position.
All four infield positions are up for grabs according to Huskies head coach Heather Tarr. The one player who will start somewhere for sure is Ashley Charters, who is a two-time All-American and has led the Huskies in hitting in two of her three seasons. Charters is a career .378 hitter, has stolen 96 bases and has started and played in every game during her career except for one.
Charters, who has been named to two National Player of the Year Watch lists heading into this season, will start at either shortstop, where she has started the previous three years, or at second base. If either freshman Morgan Stuart or junior transfer Jessica Ventoza can show they can compete at the Pac-10 level at a critical spot like shortstop, then Charters will bump over to second base. If Charters stays at shortstop then look for Ventoza to play at second.
'Ashley has the upperhand experience-wise,' said Tarr. 'Her play speaks for itself.'
'Morgan has a great arm and she's still adjusting her footwork to the speed of the game at the Pac-10 level.'
'Ventoza has come in and impressed us with her athleticism and she only enhances what Ashley and Morgan can do.'
At third base, junior Dani Stuart or freshman Jace Williams could start. Stuart started 30 games a year ago when starting third baseman Nicole Moojen went down with an injury. Moojen has since graduated and now Stuart has a chance to take over the position full-time.
'Dani has improved tremendously as a defender,' said Tarr. 'She got a lot of playing time early last year and then was able to step back during the World Series and got to see a senior play at the highest level. She gained valuable experience playing and watching last year.'
Williams was a four-year standout at La Costa Canyon High School in Encinitas, Calif., where she twice earned All-CIF honors. Tarr said Williams has a lot of potential and room to grow as a college player.
Much like last year, the Huskies are searching for a first baseman. In 2007, they brought in Dena Tyson from the outfield and Tyson produced her best season ever for the Huskies, earning NFCA First Team All-American honors. In 2008, Lauren Greer has the chance to move from her right field spot to first base, where she has not played since her high school days.
Greer went from being a .249 hitter in her first two seasons to having a career year last season when she hit .301 with 13 doubles, six home runs and 40 runs batted in.
While Greer is the leading candidate to start at first base, three more players, Blake, Fleischman and Macon, could all see time there as well.
Sophomore Dru Hester also returns for the Huskies and can play third base, shortstop or second base.
Tarr said that junior Ashlyn Watson is the leading candidate to start at the DP spot, where she started 33 games a year ago.
'She has shown good signs of being able to fill an important role at the DP. We have some offensive depth on our team this year that allows us to move the offensive lineup around a lot. You could also see (Caitlin) Noble or (Aleah) Macon there as well.'
Looking ahead: In the fourth and final series we take a look at the Husky outfielders and the schedule.