Softball Preseason Report: Day 5

Jan. 12, 2013

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -The Tennessee softball team made the most of Saturday's warm weather, continuing preseason practice at Lee Stadium.

With Saturday afternoon the 60s, the Lady Vols worked on fielding and hitting. It was a welcome break from January's cold weather.

"It's always great to be playing on the field that we're going to be playing on the rest of the season," senior Melissa Brown said. "We're getting outdoors, taking advantage of just being in this good weather right now. It's been great."

Tennessee returns eight of 10 starters from its 2012 squad after losing Ashley Andrews and Shelby Burchell to graduation.

Sophomore Hannah Akamine, who saw 16 starts at catcher as a rookie while splitting time with Andrews, has looked sharp behind the plate early on in the preseason. The Escondido, Calif., hopes to continue making strides in her second season.

"Ashley was a great leader last year," Akamine said. "I'm approaching it trying to be as good of a player as her and take control, be the field general."

Many of the big bats in the lineup have looked strong in these early days of the preseason, driving shots over the wall in batting practice.

On Saturday, senior Lauren Gibson and freshman Rainey Gaffin stood out as many of their cuts either cleared the fence or bounced off the wall.

Even assistant coach Marty McDaniel seemed to have his power swing going as he unintentionally rocketed a few homers during the outfielders' defensive work.





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