College Sports Madness Ranks Georgia Preseason #5

For those of you who are not familiar with the College Sports Madness website, it is an online hub of articles on almost every NCAA sport, including softball. The site’s motto is to provide adequate coverage to not just the big name teams and leagues, but also the smaller conferences and mid-major teams. Not only does the softball section on the site provide a weekly poll, similar to the NFCA and ESPN polls, but they also have featured games of the week. The softball coverage is a little optimistic-minded for my taste, and perhaps you will see what I am talking about it when you see the positioning of some of the teams in the “Top 44” preview section, but overall it is one of the top sites for following NCAA softball. I have had a plethora of people ask me if the College Sports Madness softball polls are accurate or official, and the answer to the second is no. But, in terms of accuracy, polls are polls and there will always be dissent over which poll, if any of them, are “correct” or not. I hope that everyone checks out CSM and follows their in-depth coverage throughout the 2013 softball season.

(All information and writing below in this posting are owned and originally published by College Sports Madness, a website that is an affiliate of the USA Today Sports Media Group)

#5: Georgia

Head Coach Lu Harris-Champer has developed the University of Georgia into one of the elite softball programs in the United States as evidenced by their 11 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs lost to the Lady Vols in the  Super Regional last year, 2-1. Harris-Champer has compiled a 598-212 record at Georgia and is 713-335 overall in 16 years of coaching softball. The Bulldogs open their season February 8-10 in the sixth annual Red and Black Showcase featuring Elon, Ohio State and Winthrop. Georgia started last season winning 21 of first 24 games and certainly would like to duplicate that or improve on it in 2013.

2012: 45-17 17-11
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Lu Harris-Champer

Field Players:
The Bulldogs return eight players and have eight freshmen on the roster.  The biggest losses through graduation were catcher Kristyn Sandberg and pitcher Erin Arevalo. Sandberg was first team All-SEC and a second team All-American last year. She led the team in batting (.355), as well as homers (19) and RBI (51). She was drafted by the NPF and ended up as the NPF Rookie of the Year.  Arevalo was named a third team All-American and compiled a 27-9 record with a 1.40 ERA. She fanned 270 batters in 245 innings pitched. Paige Wilson (IF, .342) is the top returning hitter and was named to the SEC All-Freshman team last year. Also returning is Tess Sito (.305, 23 stolen bases in 27 attempts) who can pitch and play utility.  The team stole 93 of 115 bases in 2012 with Sito, Niaja Griffin (OF) and Anna Swafford (IF) stealing 64 of those 93 bases in 76 attempts.

Pitchers:
With the loss of Erin Arevalo, Morgan Montemayor and two freshmen will be counted on to lead in the pitching department. Montemayor fashioned a 9-7 record with a 2.66 ERA with 135 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched last season. Sito, who is listed on the USA Softball Top 50 Watch List, can also pitch (9-1, 0.88 ERA) and can play utility.  Georgia freshman Geri Ann Glasco (P/IF) had an outstanding senior year of high school with a 19-0 pitching record and a .562 batting average with 24 homers and 62 RBI.  She was a four time first team All-State selection in high school, and is the daughter of Georgia assistant coach Gerry Glasco.  Another freshman pitcher is right-hander Chelsea Wilkinson, who lost only six games in her North Carolina high school career and is a two-time North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year.

Who to Watch:
Glasco was the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year in Georgia, as well in the nation, and is the future of the program. Depending how she develops will have an impact on how the Bulldogs do, especially in 2013. If she can make the transition from high school to top-level college softball, then Bulldog fans will be in for a treat watching her play.

Final Projection:
The team doesn’t have a lot of power and there is a lack of pitching depth. How the pitching develops will determine what kind of year the Bulldogs will have and whether or not they make their 12th consecutive NCAA appearance.  Harris-Champer is excited about the class that she has and is going to see who steps up to fill the shoes of those who graduated.  In pre-season coaches balloting, the Bulldogs were picked to finish third in the SEC.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Tess Sito, P/UT, 200
Hits: Paige Wilson, IF, 64
Home Runs:  Paige Wilson, IF, 9
RBIs: Paige Wilson, IF, 45
Runs: Tess Sito, P/UT, 45
Stolen Bases: Tess Sito, P/UT, 22

Wins Morgan Montemayor, P, 9
Innings Pitched:  Morgan Montemayor, P, 121.0
Strikeouts: Morgan Montemayor, P, 135
Saves: Morgan Montemayor, P, 1

Madness 2013 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#1 Geri Ann Glasco
#11 Bryanna Blanco
#15 Samantha LaZear
#47 Kaylee Puailoa
#59 Tina Iosefa
#87 Chelsea Wilkinson
#104 Katie Browne

Geri Ann Glasco, one of Georgia’s many talented freshmen, receives the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award in 2012. (Courtesy OnlineAthens.com)

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