Last year Ole Miss found their mojo and really took a big step forward with their softball program. They finished the year with a record of 43-20 but had some struggles in the very tough SEC going only 10-14. They fixed that problem though when they won the conference tournament.
In what has to be one of the best pick ups ever was being able to get, then junior pitcher Kaitlin Lee, to transfer to Ole Miss. The 5’6″ pitching phenom has the energy of 4 or 5 people. It doesn’t matter whether she’s on the mound pitching or in the dugout she’s always up giving 100% cheering her team.
Lee finished last season with a 23-11 record along with a 1.82 ERA and 118 strikeouts. It will be interesting to see if the loss of Ole Miss’ pitching coach Taryne Mowatt this season will have any affect on Lee. Ole Miss head coach Mike Smith has brought in Michigan State’s Ashley Chastain to take over the departed Mowatt’s role as assistant and pitching coach.
Chastain will not only get to work with Lee but also the other four returning pitchers from last years team, including SEC All-Freshman selection Morgan Bruce along with new freshmen that she’ll be grooming for Ole Miss’ future.
Pitching alone can’t win games though and Ole Miss also has a strong offense capable of putting runs on the board. Players like, outfielder Kylan Becker who ended last year hitting .375 BA with 31 RBIs, and outfield speedster Elantra Cox who hit .429 BA while setting a school-record with 93 hits on the season.
Even with the whole returning pitching staff from last season and six position players returning from last years team Ole Miss will also see ten new faces on this years team.
Last year the team got to host a regional where they defeated, Southern Illinois, Arizona State and North Carolina to advance them to the Los Angeles Super Regional where they ran up against UCLA and heartbreak with two one-run losses (7-8 11-innings & 0-1) to the Bruins that ended Ole Miss’ tremendous season.
This year once again it looks like a lot will depend on the pitching of staff ace Kaitlin Lee for Ole Miss success. Can she repeat her performance of last season? If she can look for Ole Miss to go far again with a deep playoff run.