Islanders softball places six on Southland preseason teams

The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team will put greater expectations on themselves this season as they return four players selected First Team All-Southland and two that are Second Team All-Southland members, the league announced on Wednesday afternoon.

"Our expectations every year, even when I first took over the team, is to make the playoffs and win the tournament," said head coach Jake Schumann. "That doesn't change much except to say that talent wise, we're where we need to be to win the conference regular-season title.

"Those kids have worked hard, they've deserved their recognition. Their play on the field last year is indicative of this award, but they know that doesn't really mean anything until the end of the year and you are holding a trophy."

Hannah Schwarz, Caley Jeter, Cassie Redman and Brittany Tucker were all named to the first team before the start of the new season. Sandy Schumann and Kacie Smith were also honored with second team recognition. Schwarz and Jeter were holdovers from the 2009 postseason Southland team while Tucker and Redman were second team last year and fill spots of departed players from a year ago.

"I think Hannah and Caley are two of the elite players in our conference and obviously the other coaches in our league feel the same way as well." said Schumann. "Their stats were phenomenal last year, the challenge for them is will they be able to make adjustments after everybody has seen them one year through.

"Their work ethic is above anybody that I've ever had play for me and I'm not really concerned about what the stats are going to be, even if they're not as high as they were last year, they are still going to be very good because of their work ethic."

Schwarz, the top hitter in the conference last season, had a .410 batting average and .470 on-base percentage, good for second in the league. She finished 31st in the nation in batting average while garnering Southland Newcomer of the Year honors, the second such Islanders player to earn the award. She was also named Louisville Slugger/NFCA First Team All-Region following her sophomore season. She also had a team-high 21 stolen bases.

Jeter led the conference in on-base percentage at .526 and was second in batting average behind Schwarz. She was named Louisville Slugger/NFCA Second Team All-Region after the season concluded. The Islanders second baseman finished the year with the third-most RBI on the team at 32 while tying for the team lead with 13 doubles. Jeter also drew a school-record 37 walks and scored 32 runs and was third on the team in stolen bases, going a perfect 13-for-13 as a runner.

"They never settle for just being average, they always want to get better." said Schumann. "Hannah was first team all-region and Caley was second team and they're still two kids that hit every day because they want more team accolades."

Tucker was a second team selection following her junior year and was the top defensive catcher in the Southland a year ago. She picked off two runners while throwing out half of all runners (22-44) trying to steal a base against her. At the plate, she was just as productive, batting .300 and leading the team with 11 home runs and tied for the team lead with 38 RBI. Her 11 home runs set a new Islanders single-season record, breaking the previous mark of 10 by Jennifer Golden in 2005.

"Every time that we play somewhere and anybody we play, their focus goes right to Brittany just because of her arm and presence in the batter's box," said Schumann. "She gets pitched around more than anybody on our team for obvious reasons.

"I tell everybody that I think she is one of the top-five catchers in the country defensively. Offensively, she's got a lot of pop and hits the ball as far as anybody I have ever coached. We need to get more consistent with that, but when you're getting pitched around all the time it's hard to get in a groove."

Redman had a breakout sophomore campaign, hitting .354 and picking up 24 RBI along with a team-high 13 doubles. She also had the second-most stolen bases on the team, going 15-for-16 on the year. Defensively, she had a team-high three outfield assists during the year, throwing out a runner in three-straight games against Sam Houston State.

"Cassie Redman had an outstanding sophomore year," said Schumann. "We look for her to do just a little bit of what she did last year. I think a lot of it has to do with the players around her elevate her game; the better the players, the better Cassie is.

"She's just that type of competitor. If she can do the same thing, we'll be really tough from the top to bottom of our lineup."

Named to the second team, Smith made an impact offensively by hitting .309 on the season with a team-best three triples while adding four home runs and 21 RBI. She anchored the left side of the infield for the Islanders at the third base position.

Schumann is also on the second team after being a utility player for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi last season. She played in 32 games and started 21 while playing seven different positions, including all positions on the infield except pitcher and catcher and all three outfield positions. She finished the year with a .338 batting average, five doubles, one triple, three home runs and 19 RBI.

As a team, the Islanders were picked to finish fifth in the league behind defending regular-season champion Texas State, Stephen F. Austin, defending tournament champion McNeese State and UT Arlington.

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi opens the season in two weeks when they host the Best Western Marina Grand Invitational. The tournament will feature Loyola Chicago, Cleveland State and UT Arlington coming to take part in the event. The Islanders will face Loyola Chicago on Thursday, February 10 at 12 p.m. to start the year.

2011 All-Southland Conference Preseason Softball Teams

First Team

Pos.

Name

University

Class

Hometown

1B

Rebecca Collom*

UT Arlington

Sr.

New Boston, Texas

2B

Caley Jeter*

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Sr.

Huntsville, Texas

3B

Jenna Emery*

Texas State

Sr.

Sugar Land, Texas

SS

Caitlyn Ivy*

UTSA

Jr.

Huntington, Texas

OF

Hannah Schwarz*

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Jr.

Kerrville, Texas

OF

Candice Gauntt*

Central Arkansas

So.

Burleson, Texas

OF

Cassie Redman*

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Jr.

New Lennox, Ill.

C

Brittany Tucker*

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Sr.

Tucson, Ariz.

UT

Katie Duhe*

Southeastern Louisiana

Sr.

Lutcher, La.

DP

Shay Ristau*

Central Arkansas

Sr.

Denton, Texas

P

Chandler Hall*

Texas State

Jr.

Baytown, Texas

P

Monika Covington*

Stephen F. Austin

Sr.

Huffman, Texas

Second Team

1B

Kasey Britt*

Central Arkansas

Jr.

Florence, Miss.

2B

Marissa Koetting*

McNeese State

So.

Ferris, Texas

3B

Kacie Smith

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Sr.

Waddell, Ariz.

SS

Molly Guidry*

McNeese State

Sr.

Arnaudville, La.

OF

Lindsey Langner*

McNeese State

Sr.

Pearland, Texas

OF

Megan Gaspard*

Nicholls

Jr.

Coteau, La.

OF

Erin Burford*

Sam Houston State

Jr.

Austin, Texas

C

Melanie Bryant*

Central Arkansas

So.

Hernando, Miss.

UT

Sandy Schumann

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Jr.

Corpus Christi, Texas

DP

Samantha Roberts*

Northwestern State

Jr.

Ruston, La.

P

Teri Lyles*

UT Arlington

So.

Keller, Texas

P

Meagan Bond*

McNeese State

So.

Lumberton, Miss.

*Returning all-conference selection

2011 Preseason Southland Softball Polls

Coaches Poll

Sports Information Directors

1. Texas State (5)

92

1. Texas State (5)

93

Stephen F. Austin (3)

92

Stephen F. Austin (4)

93

3. McNeese State (3)

80

3. McNeese State (2)

82

4. UT Arlington

70

4. UT Arlington

68

5. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

66

5. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

63

6. UTSA

52

6. UTSA

48

7. Central Arkansas

45

7. Nicholls

43

8. Nicholls

38

8. Central Arkansas

42

9. Sam Houston State

30

9. Sam Houston State

34

10. Northwestern State

28

10. Northwestern State

27

11. Southeastern Louisiana

12

11. Southeastern Louisiana

11