GSC Softball Hungry To Start 2020 Season

The Gordon State College 2020 softball team was well-represented on the NJCAA Region XVII All-Academic Team.
The Gordon State College 2020 softball team was well-represented on the NJCAA Region XVII All-Academic Team.

Gordon State College Softball 2020 Season Preview

BARNESVILLE, Ga. – Gordon State College women's softball team will kick off the 2020 season with a lot of promise and excitement – thanks primarily to a blend of returning players and newcomers that should put the Highlanders back in contention for the conference title and a national tournament bid.

GSC posted a 18-29 overall record in 2019, including 12-16 in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (also known as Region 17 in the National Junior College Athletic Association).  That 12-16 conference mark was good enough for a fourth-place finish in the GCAA.

Head coach Ally Hattermann, who has been at GSC since 2000 and has posted over 350 career wins, hopes the team's work ethic in the offseason will pay big dividends when the 2020 regular season gets started on Sunday, February 2, as Southern Union State Community College (Ala.) comes to Barnesville for a 2 p.m. ET doubleheader.

"I'm excited, the players are excited," Hattermann said. "We are all hungry – not only in improving upon last season's record and finish, but winning our next championship. These sophomores faced adversity last season with a depleted pitching staff and truly learned how to play behind their pitcher and support their teammates – no matter what the situation may have been. They have brought that mentality to this year's team."

Redshirt sophomore Breanna Lee (Concord, Ga. / Pike Co. HS), a 2019 NJCAA All-Region 17 infielder, is back as the team's second baseman and probable No. 3 hitter in the projected starting lineup.  Lee found great success in that role last season as she hit .364 (OBP .421 / .515 slugging) with three homers, nine doubles, 30 RBI and just one strikeout in 132 at-bats. 

Lee led the team with 48 hits and was second with 27 runs while fielding at a .965 clip for GSC.

Sophomore Taylor McClendon (McDonough, Ga. / Ola HS) returns as the starting shortstop after hitting .287 (OBP .356) with five doubles and 11 RBI while being involved in 11 double plays during the season.

Sophomore Madison Powell (Roberta, Ga. / Taylor Co. HS) will play at first base and the designated player position for the Highlanders.  Powell, who hit three home runs and added 14 RBI last season, also found herself in the pitcher's circle in 2019 and threw a team-high 164.1 innings as a freshman. 

Along with Powell, who will see the majority of her innings on the infield, Hattermann added four pitchers to the staff for 2020.  Freshmen right-handers Faith Hager (Conyers, Ga. / Heritage HS), Natalie Song (Cataula, Ga. / Harris County HS) and Mallory Watson (Jackson, Ga. / Jackson HS) while freshman southpaw Bailey Odom (Danville, Ga. / Bleckley Co. HS) will see time in the circle.

Sophomore Jordyn Dobson (McDonough, Ga. / Union Grove HS) found her role as the designated player in 2019 when she hit .291 (OBP .371) with a homer and eight RBI.  But Dobson will compete for playing time at both second base and third base in 2020.

Other infielders who should contribute to the Highlanders' success this season include redshirt freshman first baseman Abby Foster (McDonough, Ga. / Ola HS), freshman infielder Mariah Allen (Buford, Ga. / Mill Creek HS) and freshman infielder Sammie Cotton (Columbus, Ga. / Northside HS).

GSC brings back three outfielders from the 2019 squad in Mackenzie English (Williamson, Ga. / Pike Co. HS), Mary-Masdon McCrary (Thomaston, Ga. / Upson-Lee HS) and Camryn Currie (Marietta, Ga. / Hillgrove HS). 

English is the likely leadoff hitter again where she hit .308 with three homers, 15 RBI and also walked a team-high 13 times. English also led the team in stolen bases with 10. Defensively, English fielded at 1.000 percent with 62 putouts and four assists.

McCrary moved back and forth between center and right fields while hitting .333 (OBP .404) with 22 runs scored.

Currie hit .359 with seven RBI in 21 games for the Highlanders.

Freshmen newcomers Hailey Hooper (Monticello, Ga. / Piedmont Academy) and Camden Steele (Jackson, Ga. / Union Grove HS) will bring strong arms and speed to the GSC outfield this season.

Freshman Brandi Williams (Dawsonville, Ga. / Dawson Co. HS) joins GSC as a true utility player after working in the outfield during fall practice and has been seeing time at third base in preseason workouts.

"We had a good fall against some quality NCAA Division I and III opponents and got to take a look at everyone in multiple positions," Hattermann said. "They worked hard in the offseason in the weight room and it has shown so far in the preseason.

"The defense and pitching are definitely our strengths and we are two players deep in nearly every position. Every player pushes each other to be better. Offensively, we have a good hitting team with a mix of slappers, contact, gap and power hitters to go along with above average team speed."

Assistant coach Niki Moncrief is on the GSC staff this season after playing for the Highlanders as a second baseman in 2016 and 2017.

Moncrief posted a .286 batting average with 52 hits – including eight home runs and 10 doubles – while driving in 42 runs.