After a shocking early exit in the postseason in 2022, Florida State Seminoles softball will turn its focus to a new team for 2023. Let's take a look at what they will be losing, and who is coming in and competing for a spot in the lineup, class by class.
Starting with the super Seniors, FSU returns a good veteran group. Returning off of injury is Bethaney Keen, who in 2022 saw limited action before an ankle injury ended her season. She played in 13 games, with 10 starts. Keen occupied first base defensively and on the offensive side she went 5 for 18, giving her a .278 batting average. Keen capitalized on RBI opportunities as she drove in 6 runs on her season.
Shortstop Josie Muffley, who shared time with Freshman Brooke Blankenship will be back on the diamond in 2023 for the ‘Noles. Since splitting time with Blankenship, Muffley could be up for the third base spot that is being left by Sydney Sherrill. During her time as a ‘Nole she has made a name for herself defensively. With the bat, Muffley got 38 starts, while seeing 47 total games. In the bottom part of the lineup she batted .267 with 8 total RBI. On the basepaths she was 6 for 7 in stolen bases.
After transferring in from Illinois State as a stand out two way player, Mack Leonard saw herself mostly at first base in 2022. Starting the season as the designated player, Leonard moved to a defensive spot once Keen went out. However, her spot in the lineup hardly changed. Leonard batted no lower than 6th all season, providing power at the top of the order. Out of her 60 starts, she ended the season leading the team in batting average with a .375. She also sat around the top of the leaderboard in multiple other offensive categories.
In the circle, Leonard ended with a 3.36 ERA and a 3-0 record. Keeping the opposition to a .220 batting average, she pitched in 33.1 innings giving up 28 hits, 21 runs while striking out 24. She entered mostly in relief, but saw two starts.
Even though she sat out as a redshirt in 2022, transfer Ali DuBois is set to make her appearance as a Seminole in 2023. The Boston University transfer left the Terrier program as one of the best not only at Boston, but in the Patriot League. The three time pitcher of the year in the league led BU to three conference regular season and tournament titles. In her four years, she posted a 1.52 ERA, a win/loss of 85-26, 141 appearances, 30 shutouts, 686.1 innings pitched, 189 walks, 647 strikeouts, 30 home runs, and held batters to a .200.
Kathryn Sandercock is also back for her last season in the Garnet and Gold. Ever since her Freshman season in 2019, Sandercock has made an impact in the circle. Last season she led the charge as the ace of the pitching staff. With 44 appearances, she only had three losses on the season to 30 wins. Her 1.44 ERA tied first on the team as she pitched 194.1 innings with 159 strike outs.
With Keen back and healthy, it is predicted she will retake her spot at first base. Offensively, she could sit in the middle of the batting order, just as she did last season.
Leonard will most likely stay as a relief pitcher, just as she did in 2022. She saw limited time in 2022, making a handful of starts in the circle but mostly coming on in the late innings. She could be getting more looks in the circle if she stays in the designated player roll, allowing more time for preparation in the bullpen during a game. The DP spot for Leonard could solidify the lineup more as last season there were multiple players who filled that role.
With Sherrill now graduated, Muffley could be in consideration for the third baseman spot. However, she could stay at shortstop and keep that position unchanged. Keeping Muffley at short would mean only changing one position, rather than two and the possible growing pains that could come with that move. In the lineup, Muffley will remain at the bottom part of the order, possibly the 9th spot. That position will allow her to turn the lineup over and move runners on base.
DuBois will be seeing live game action for the first time since the 2021 season. She was the ace of the Boston staff, and could provide the second punch next to Kathryn Sandercock. Working primarily as a strikeout pitcher, DuBois can last long innings and go the distance if needed. Since BU made several trips to the regionals during DuBois time, she has plenty of postseason experience that can help this squad as they look for a long run.
Back for her last season, Sandercock should pick up where she left off as the ace of the staff. With more pitchers on staff in the upcoming season, that will take the load off of Sandercock for 2023. As seen last season, she can come on in relief if necessary and work ground balls to keep the ball in the yard and runners off the bases.