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Mid-Major softball teams to watch in 2021
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CardinalBlackTrojan Online

Posts: 5,291
Joined: Dec 2008
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I Root For: TROY
Location: Clearwater Beach, FL
Post: #1
Mid-Major softball teams to watch in 2021

- James Madison
- Fresno State
- Western Kentucky
- Louisiana

Louisiana has established itself as such a strong program, it can hardly be considered a mid-major. It has finished sub-.500 just one time in program history and has 10 50-win seasons to its name.

Louisiana has won 18 Sun Belt championships this century, only twice failing to win the league’s regular season crown in that span.

It’s an unprecedented run of success for a program that consistently has to battle high-major programs like LSU, Florida, Alabama and Texas for recruits. However, that hasn’t stopped Louisiana from posting successful results against its local foes. During the COVID-19 shortened season, Louisiana picked up wins over Oklahoma State, LSU, Florida and Texas.

With the return of junior outfielder Raina O’Neal and sophomore Kendall Talley, Louisiana has a strong heart of the order that will only be aided by transfers Jade Gortarez (Arizona State), Frankie Izard (Lake Land College) and Karly Heath (South Carolina). Heath will join Vanessa Foreman (Arizona) in the circle for Louisiana next season.

- Troy

Louisiana has long been the Sun Belt’s premier power and a fixture in the southern college softball landscape. Meanwhile, Troy hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament since 1996 and has never recorded a conference championship.

But, in 2020, Troy jumped out to a 15-6 start that featured a ranked win over #16 South Carolina and the nation’s 26th best RPI. The Trojans figured to be a big factor in the Sun Belt this year, even after getting off to a 1-2 start in conference. If 2020 was the turning point for Troy, 2021 could potentially be the breakthrough it was looking for.

With an additional year of eligibility for its seniors, Troy will return its best four hitters. Senior infielder Katie Webb (.368 batting average), sophomore infielder Kelly Horne (.368), sophomore outfielder Katie Lively (.364) and freshman outfielder Jade Sinness (.300) will anchor the middle of a talented Troy lineup. In the circle, sophomore Leanna Johnson (1.61 ERA) will anchor a pitching staff that had a collective 2.27 ERA in the shortened season.
06-25-2020 11:02 AM
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