When COVID-19 began to spread across the United States, among the first sports to have play suspended were baseball and softball. Now almost a year later, local colleges are returning to the field.
University of Mobile baseball
University of Mobile (UM) baseball head coach Jon Seymour and senior outfielder Zachary Presnall of Satsuma were honored during the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association’s annual banquet in January. Seymour, who enters his 17th season with the UM baseball program and his second as head coach, was honored as the Small College Division Coach of the Year for the 2020 season. Seymour led the Rams to a 17-6 overall record before the season was cut short because of the pandemic.
Presnall, a starting outfielder and relief pitcher, was named the Small College Division Player of the Year. He started all 21 games for the Rams, mostly in right field, and finished with a .413 batting average. In those 21 games, Presnall went 31-75 with seven doubles, one triple, 21 runs scored and 20 RBIs. He also reached base 11 times on walks and stole six bases.
In preseason polls, UM was 20th in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) list and fourth in the always tough Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) rankings. This year’s SSAC Baseball Championship will be played May 5-8 at Hank Aaron Stadium.
University of Mobile softball
As previously mentioned in this column, the UM softball program sits atop the SSAC preseason poll. This marks the third year in a row where the Rams have been selected No. 1 overall in the poll.
They have also entered the NAIA preseason rankings in seventh place. This is the same spot where they stood when last year’s season was halted after a 14-4 start.
The Rams return 2019 SSAC Second-Team All-Conference selections Kaylee Pullin and Allison Vincent. Jaden Morace (junior/Fairhope) hit .513 with 15 RBIs in 2020 and Brinkley Goff (sophomore/Saraland) was 6-0 on the mound with 48 strikeouts in 42 innings pitched.
University of South Alabama baseball
University of South Alabama (USA) baseball outfielder Ethan Wilson has been named a Preseason First-Team All-American by Baseball America. He is one of three outfielders named to the first team and the lone Sun Belt Conference representative.
Baseball America is the second organization to honor Wilson. He was a Third-Team Preseason All-American pick by D1Baseball.
Wilson batted .282 with four doubles, three home runs, 12 RBIs, 13 runs scored and six stolen bases in 18 games in 2020. He recorded five multiple-hit games and drove in multiple runs in two contests. Last season, Wilson was voted the 2020 SBC Preseason Player of the Year.
Other top hitters back are junior catcher Reid Powers (.339, one double, one triple, two homers, 12 RBIs) and junior outfielder Michael Sandle (.328, four doubles, one homer, 28 RBIs). The most experienced pitchers are junior Matt Boswell (4.50 earned run average, 1-3 record), junior JoJo Booker (5.00 ERA, 1-1 record), senior Andy Arguelles (0.00 ERA, 2-0 record), junior Miles Smith (9.00 ERA, 0-2) and junior Tyler Lehrmann (4.63 ERA, 1-1).
University of South Alabama softball
Among the top returning hitters for USA are senior outfielder Amanda Flynn (.343, two doubles, one triple, one homer, nine RBIs), sophomore catcher Kassidy Wilcox (.316, one double, seven RBIs) and senior utility player Kamdyn Kvistad (.300, four doubles, one triple, two homers, 18 RBIs) and senior infielder Katelyn Gruich (.268, four doubles, one triple, four homers, 11 RBIs).
Back on the mound are sophomore Jenna Hardy (3.38 ERA, 2-7 record), junior Kelsie Rivers (3.41 ERA, 0-1 record), sophomore Lexi Hutchins (4.00 ERA, 5-4 record) and senior Allie Hughen (4.13 ERA, 1-5 record).
The Jaguar Classic is scheduled for this weekend. USA faces Lipscomb and Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 19. Next up are Murray State and Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 20. The tourney concludes Feb. 21 with a game versus Butler.
Spring Hill College baseball
The top returning hitters for the Badgers include outfielder Joseph Guidry (.324, six doubles, one triple, one homer, eight RBIs), infielder Frankie Timphony (.309, six doubles, one homer, 10 RBIs), infielder Daniel Rodriquez (.254, five doubles, 10 RBIs) and redshirt outfielder Cade Simpson (.273, one double, 13 RBIs).
The most experienced pitchers are A.J. Fell (2.48 ERA, 3-1 record, 27 strikeouts), Logan Clark (5.90 ERA, 1-2 record, 16 strikeouts), Michael Romano (4.30 ERA, 2-1 record, one save, 12 strikeouts), Geo Camfield (5.65 ERA, 2-0 record, six strikeouts), Taylor Gibson (4.09 ERA, 0-1 record, seven strikeouts) and R.J. Del Rio (5.06 ERA, 1-0 record).
The Badgers are set to play at UM on Friday, then host the Rams on Saturday at Stan Galle Field before wrapping up the series Sunday at Hank Aaron Stadium.
Spring Hill College softball
Junior infielder Delaney Thomas (Baker High graduate) is coming off a great season. She had a .419 batting average with nine doubles, two triples and 10 runs batted in.
Other veterans include shortstop Hannah Fillmore (.391, five doubles, one homer, 15 RBIs), outfielder Randa Day of Bay Minette (.316, one RBI), first baseman Daniella Amador (.294, two RBIs), utility player Carlisle Jamison (.238, four doubles, five RBIs), outfielder Sophia Nuzzolillo (.231, one RBI) and first baseman Paityn Desormeaux (.222, two RBIs).
Junior Hannah Brenton (Mobile Christian graduate) picked up her third varsity letter last year. In 52 innings, she had a 2.69 earned run average, 4-6 record and 40 strikeouts.
Also spending time on the mound were Desormeaux (15.1 innings, 2.74 ERA, 2-0 record), Olivia Brown (15.1 innings, 3.65 ERA, 1-1 record) and Morgan Kramer (8.0 innings, 3.50 ERA, 1-0 record).
SHC will open its home schedule with a double-header this Saturday against UM.
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