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Softball Begins Practice for 2002 Season

January 8, 2002 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee softball begins practice this week in preparation for the 2002 season.

The Lady Raiders will try to combine a mixture of old and new together to create a winning combination for the 2002 campaign. The most notable change comes in the coaching ranks as Cindy Connelley has taken over the reigns and added Ernie Reynolds as her assistant coach.

Building from the accomplishments of last year is a component to success as the key players from the school record 41 win team are all back in place. Couple that with the dominant prone performances of three veteran pitchers (Jennifer Martinez, Stayc Preator, and Amanda Kendall) and Connelley has the formula for an outstanding season.

One aspect of the game Connelley is focusing on improving is the team's overall hitting. In 2001 the Lady Raiders could only muster a .261 team batting average, and she is looking to make offensive prowess one of the key factors of Middle Tennessee softball.

The team is also relying on the support staff to achieve their goals and make a claim for the Sun Belt Conference title. From seeing a nutritionist to meetings with the sports psychologist, to strength and conditioning, the team is working on details and the ingredients to insure success.

"Middle Tennessee softball will be faster, stronger and multi-dimensional this season, with a veteran team and new staff, " Connelley said. "In the off-season we have focused on position play, hitting and special situations. Pitching is key and we need to support our cast with the total game."

Middle Tennessee returns all but two players from last year's squad and adds two freshmen in Leah Grothause and Danielle DeCamino. Connelley also brought in junior college transfer Megan Cherinka from Sierra Junior College to shore up the Lady Raider line-up.

Overall it looks to be a promising year for Middle Tennessee. Lady Raider softball opens up 2002 at the Mardi Gras Classic in Monroe, LA on February 15-17.

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