Mocs Softball Prepares For Spring Season
Friday, January 18, 2019
With first pitch just about three weeks away at the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament in Kennesaw, Ga., GoMocs.com takes a look into this year’s roster and what fans can expect during the 2019 season. The first installment focuses on the 10 newcomers to the UTC program.
This season’s newcomer class total ties for second most in program history to begin a season (2013) and fell just one short of tying last year’s program-record mark of 11. Of the 10, eight are true freshmen while one is a junior transfer from nearby Georgia State and one is a sophomore.
Ansley Barge, INF, R/R, Fr.
– Carrollton, Ga.
Taylor Chadwick, INF, L/R, Jr. – Ringgold, Ga. (Georgia State)
Emily Coltharp, INF, L/R, Fr. – McDonough, Ga.
Makenzi Grider, UTL, L/R, Fr. – Hollywood, Ala.
Gracey Kruse, OF, L/L, Fr. – Rossville, Ga.
Natalie Luna, C, R/R, Fr. – Fontana, Calif.
Mariah Ramirez, P, R/R, Fr. – La Habra, Calif.
Bailey Sudduth, UTL, R/R, So. – Wartrace, Tenn.
Sidney Swantic, OF, S/R, Fr. – Dalton, Ga.
Hannah Wood, P, R/R, Fr. – Chattanooga, Tenn.
“We’re excited to get the season started in the next couple weeks,” said head coach Frank Reed. “Reflecting on our incoming freshmen and transfers, we’re very excited about having these girls in the program.”
A heavy local flare can be felt throughout the group with seven heralding from either Tennessee or Georgia and one from nearby Alabama. The remaining two travel to the Scenic City from the prep softball-rich state of California.
They boast positional versatility by featuring three infielders, two outfielders, two pitchers, two utility players and a catcher. On the offensive side of things, five of the 10 can hit from the left side of the plate and all carry great speed on the base paths. The speed is something Reed is really looking forward to having this year.
“We have five lefty hitters and they all bring speed to the game. We’ll definitely have more speed in the lineup than in the past, so we’re really excited to be able to use it when we can. Mixed in with a couple power hitters, and two pitchers, we feel really good.”
After finishing near the bottom of the Southern Conference ranks in stolen bases and total defense the last two seasons, this incoming group checks off all the boxes listed in the ‘needs’ category for 2019. The coaching staff expects a large portion of the newcomers to have a heavy impact on the lineup right out of the gate.
“Of those 10, we can see seven or eight of those kids having a lot of playing time right away. One name that really stands out is Taylor Chadwick, a second baseman transfer from Georgia State. She not only swings it well, but she’s probably the fastest on the team as a power-lefty hitter,” added Reed.
“Her, along with freshmen Emily Coltharp, Sidney Swantic and Gracey Kruse, could all see considerable amount of playing time.”
Chattanooga has placed a representative on the Southern Conference All-Freshman team each of the last four seasons and looks to be well on its way to number five. But, with 50-plus games and a three-plus month grind ahead, it will take some time for the learning process to come full circle. A process that the coaching staff and Reed are very much confident in.
“All in all, there’s a lot of work to do to get those players up to our game. We’re excited to see how that is going to play in with the rest of our 2019 Mocs team,” concluded Reed.
UTC opens up the season on February 8 at 2:30 p.m. in Kennesaw, Ga., at the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament on the campus of Kennesaw State. The Mocs return to Frost Stadium the following two weekends to host the Chattanooga Challenge (Feb. 15-16) and Frost Classic (Feb. 22-24).
Season tickets are on sale now by clicking HERE or calling the box office at (423) 266-MOCS. Single game tickets go on sale Monday, January 21 at 10 a.m.
MEET THE MOCS
The 2019 Chattanooga Mocs softball team will host its annual ‘Meet the Mocs’ night on Thursday, January 24 at 7 p.m. inside the UTC Softball Indoor Facility. Admission is FREE and the event is OPEN to the public. The team will conduct a short open practice followed by a meet and greet with the team, autographs, and more. Bring the family for a night full of fun – We hope to see you there!