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2018 Softball Preview: The Defense

Changes in the infield and outfield

Amanda Doyle

It’s been a tough last two seasons for the Tigers defensively. After ranking dead last in the conference in errors in 2016, the Tiger defense still was an issue, ranking second to last in errors.

As the Tiger offense continues to determine its identity in 2018, it will be critical for the defense to mold quickly, in order to better assist the pitching staff in limiting opposition runs.

C: Michaela Schlattman

Alternatives: Sydney Loupe, Sydney Springfield, CC Caccamise.

This is easily the most difficult position to project. Only Loupe and Caccamise are listed catchers. Loupe is a senior who has seldom played and Caccamise is a freshman. Schlattman caught in high school, according to Torina, and Springfield volunteered to give it a shot entering camp. It’s about as wide-ranging background for potential starters as imaginable. Considering Torina alluded to all four players as potential in her Media Day press conference, it wouldn’t be crazy to think all four could catch at some point over opening weekend.

1B: Sydney Springfield

Alternatives: Amanda Doyle, Shelbi Sunseri

Most of 2017 was spent with Springfield or Doyle at first. Although Doyle took over first to finish out the season, and although Springfield is in the catching battle, Springfield seems the favorite to start the year at first. Part of this has to do with Doyle, who has experience playing third base, and part of this is Torina having comfort in Springfield at first over Sunseri.

2B: Becca Schulte.

Alternatives: Shemiah Sanchez, Michaela Schlattman, Sydney Bourg.

Schulte was listed as a middle infielder on her team’s website and Schlattman spent the bulk of last year at shortstop. Bourg and Sanchez both have experience playing second. There isn’t a clear option at second and there are too many shortstops. With Schlattman behind the plate, Schulte gets the look at second.

SS: Amber Serrett

Alternatives: Becca Schulte, Michaela Schlattman, Shemiah Sanchez

LSU has no shortage of middle infielders on the roster. Serrett, having been the starter for the last season and a half, will have to experience something drastic to lose her starting gig at short. Torina has used Sanchez at second and third, and would probably look to use Sanchez in those positions than at short.

3B: Amanda Doyle.

Alternatives: Shemiah Sanchez, Michaela Schlattman

Doyle is probably a step down defensively from Sanchez, even though Doyle has experience playing the position. Unless Doyle proves to be outstanding in the field, this could be a platoon situation where Sanchez could get more of a look when someone like Walljasper is in the circle. If it wasn’t apparent already, Schlattman is in play defensively, all over the field.

LF: Aliyah Andrews

Alternatives: Elyse Thornhill, Claire Weinberger, Akiya Thymes, Taryn Antoine

Although Thornhill had locked down left field in her freshman year in 2016, in 2017 she was supplanted by then freshman Aliyah Andrews. Torina platooned the two for the start of the season, but by mid-season Andrews was in left full time.

CF: Emily Griggs

Alternatives: Aliyah Andrews, Claire Weinberger, Akiya Thymes, Taryn Antoine

Griggs started her career in left field and has been the Tigers center fielder since her sophomore year. It will have to take a heroic performance by another player to remove Griggs out of center and even if that were to happen, she would still take over one of the corner spots.

RF: Elyse Thornhill

Alternatives: Aliyah Andrews, Claire Weinberger, Akiya Thymes, Taryn Antoine

Recent history shows us that Torina prefers her established players on opening night, while still also allowing time for newcomers to make an impact. It’s hard to figure if Thornhill in right field is the former or latter. She has played the outfield and is a returner, but has never played right. Without a clear newcomer set to take over for Bailey Landry, Thornhill is likely the favorite to start.