Cougar softball in preseason action Friday

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The Cougars this preseason are 2-0 and will host Snow College at 6 p.m. in Provo Friday night in a game that is free to the public.

BYU finished last season with a record of 45-15 (.750), including a mark of 17-1 at home, when it saw the season come to an end last year in a double-elimination NCAA Regional.

BYU first baseman Katie Manuma makes contact with the ball during last years game againt Utah Valley University at Miller Park. [Universe]
The Cougar softball team graduated many seniors from last year’s team, however, and looks to its pitchers to lead this year’s squad of young, new players as they build chemistry with the returning players.

“We’ve got Tori (Almond) and Hannah (Howell) as a junior and senior, and I’m looking to them to lead from the mound,” Assistant Head Coach Vaugh Alvey said. “This game is so pitching dominant … and so if our pitchers can keep us in ball games earlier until we can get that experience then I think that’s where growth will come.”

A hot start can build momentum heading into the team’s spring season, especially for the young players.  A current focus for the veteran players is to build chemistry now and use these preseason games to learn the strengths and weaknesses of one another.

“We’re just expecting to really collaborate as a team,” junior outfielder Carly Duckworth said. “Learning how each other plays is important so that we can translate that into our spring season. And then (I think) we can have a good start to our season with the experiences that we have this fall.”

Senior outfielder Alexandra Hudson Shamo agrees.

“For me, I see the preseason as a time to work out the bugs, and once we get to February, in that first game we won’t have to worry about anything because we’ve already worked everything out now,” Shamo said.

The Cougars look to build to their impressive streak of 40 or more wins in eight straight seasons, and the road to another successful year starts now in the fall.

“The game is a lot quicker, and (the young players) need to learn to anticipate and to be quicker,” Alvey said. “Experience and chemistry is what we need to achieve during the fall.”

The game will start at 6 p.m. at home at Gail Miller Field as former BYU softball players will also be in attendance operating the scoreboard, the microphone and the snack bar.

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