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Softball Season Preview: Outfield

The final edition of our Ole Miss softball preview looks at the Rebel outfield, a speedy and athletic group that head coach Mike Smith is excited about heading into the 2018 season.

Left Field: Elantra Cox
The senior is an electric leadoff hitter that batted a staggering .429 and accumulated a NCAA-leading 93 hits for the Rebels a year ago. Cox is a speedy defender as well as a nightmare for opponents on the base paths. Cox swiped 25 bases in 32 tries in 2017. She's got great hands and struck out just 30 times in 233 plate appearances. She was an invaluable piece at the top of the Ole Miss order and will be again this season as well as a plus defender with a lot of speed.

Center Field: Kylan Becker
Becker is probably the best overall athlete on the roster. She played right field predominantly a year ago and hit .375 with two home runs and 31 RBIs. Becker and Cox accounted for 165 of the team's 495 hits and the pair are a strong tandem in the Ole Miss lineup. She'll make the transition from right field to center in an effort to replace Miranda Strother. Becker will play for the US Women's National Team this summer and will be an athletic defender as well as a productive hitter for the Rebels in her junior year.

Right Field: Celeste Wood/Kaylee Horton/ Mary Terral
You'll likely see all three of these players in right field in some capacity this season. Smith called Wood - a junior transfer from Michigan State - one of the best pure hitters on the team. She hit .387 for the Spartans a year ago and has a good enough bat to be able to stay in the lineup pretty consistently. Horton is seen as a quality defender and will be a valuable utility piece for the Rebels this season across the diamond. Horton could potentially play third base, shortstop or second base if needed. She hit .270 in 126 at bats a year ago. Horton is a good defender and makes the Rebels a better defensive team when she is inserted into the lineup. She gives Smith a lot of flexibility of what he can do on a game-by-game basis. Terral is a true freshman from Ruston, Louisiana that will have an opportunity to play in mulitple different spots in the outfield if needed.

Softball Season Preview: Infield

Coming off the most successful season in program history, Ole Miss Softball begins its 2018 season on Friday. The Rebels come into the season ranked as high as 15th in the country and were on the cusp of reaching Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series. Looking to take the next step this season, expectations are high for Mike Smith and the Rebels this season.

See below for a look at what you can expect to see from the Rebel infield this season.
1st base: Brittany Finney/Alex Schneider
You will likely see both Finney and Schneider at this position in some capacity. In 2017, Finney split time here with Dakota Matiko and Alyssa Gonzalez, hitting six home runs and driving in 27 runs a year ago, making her bat a hard one to remove from the lineup. Schneider is seen as a defensive stopper and could see time here when Finney is pitching in relief of Kaitlin Lee. 

Both are experienced players with plenty of time at the position and should be a quality combo for Smith's club this season.

2nd base: Ally Mena/Kaylee Horton
Mena, a true freshman out of Miami, Florida, could be a new option for Ole Miss at second base this year. Smith said she has some of the best hands in the country and could potentially be a shortstop for the Rebels in the future. Smith also didn't rule out on giving her time at shortstop this season along with Paige McKinney. 

Sophomore utility player Kaylee Horton saw most of her time at second base a season ago with 49 starts. She hit .270 last season and could slide into another infield slot or even play some outfield this spring. 

Shortstop: Paige McKinney/Ally Mena/Kaylee Horton
McKinney took over the everyday shortstop duties after a brief stint at second base at the beginning of last season. The senior stole 16 bases in as many tries a year ago and should anchor the middle of the infield again this season. Horton and Mena could see action here as well if needed.

3rd base: Dylinn Stancil/Amanda Roth
Smith said this has been an air-tight battle the entire offseason between sophomore Stancil and true freshman Roth.  Both are swinging the bat well and playing good defense. Stancil started 46 games a year ago, predominantly at third base, and drove in 23 runs. Roth is a true freshman out of Carrollton, Texas and has some pop in her bat. 

Smith said both players bring energy that is important to this team's success and Stancil could potentially slide to second base as well if needed. 

Catcher: Autumn Gillespie/Jessica Puk/Izzy Werdann
All three of these potential backstops for the Rebels are newcomers this season. They'll collectively be in charge of replacing Courtney Syrett who handled all of the catching duties last season. Gillespie is a transfer from UCF who has one of the better pop times in the country according to Smith. Ideally, Gillespie will control the running game and get the majority of the time behind the plate.

However, Smith has always wanted two catchers to use regularly, but in the past has not had a second option that can consistently control the running game. He thinks that will change with Puk and Werdann. Puk is a true freshman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Werdann is a junior college transfer who caught Kaitlin Lee for a year at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC.


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Recent Comments

    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

    in post Rebels Unable to Send Senior Class Out on a High Note

    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

    in post Late Mistake Spoils Chad Kelly's Historic Performance

    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

    in post Heisman House Tour Heads to Oxford for Ole Miss-Georgia

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