Point softball focused on winning conference title
Published 10:23 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019
WEST POINT —The Point University softball team has been on a steady climb of winning and finishing in the top half of the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) for the last three seasons.
The Skyhawks have finished with a winning record in each of the mentioned seasons with an 87-74 combined overall mark. The team finished fourth in the AAC last year out of the conference’s 13 teams. On Feb. 6, a new season begins with the standard being set.
“We are looking to have another strong season,” Point head softball coach Jennifer Tyler said. “ We are continuously climbing and striving to improve each year with the conference championship as our main goal.”
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This season, the team is excited to bring a lot of upside to the plate.
“I am really looking forward to the combination we have in the lineup of speed and power,” Tyler said. “We brought in quite a few transfers to add dimension, both offensively and defensively, which should mesh well with our key returners. We should be able to produce more runs this year to help our pitching staff in the circle.”
This season’s team is led by senior Ryan Simpson, a four-year starter who earned Co-Conference Pitcher of the Year honors last season.
Senior first baseman Shea Pendley, as well as junior transfers, centerfielder Shatima Smith and catcher Payton Burton are also key players for the Skyhawks this season.
“We have more versatility at the plate with speed and the short game this year,” Tyler said. “Defensively, we have more depth with overall more experience and pressure situations.”
Pendley is another four-year starter who hit either third or fourth in the lineup every season at Point.
Last season, she finished led the Skyhawks with 5 home runs and tied for second on the team with 44 hits in 158 at-bats.
Smith is a quick player who will hit in the leadoff position this season for Point. Burton looks to bring power, knowledge and game experience to the team, Tyler said.
The Skyhawks season begins on Feb. 6 against Albany State in a doubleheader at home. Point will then go on a road trip before returning to West Point Park Field on Feb. 16 to host Columbia College.