The new-look University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team plays officially for the first time today in Clermont, Fla., at the National Training Center Invitational tournament.
The Lady Mocs will take on Fordham at noon and Southern Illinois at 2 p.m.
UTC will be without some key players from last year, including graduated starters Vivian Morimoto, Jessica Traxler and Southern Conference Female Athlete of the Year Michelle Fuzzard. Also missing is sophomore All-SoCon outfielder Cheyenne Willis, who is recovering from knee surgery.
Seniors Kasey Tydingco, Sara Poteat and Ninjja Suetsugu will provide some experience to the lineup, along with returning contributors such as starting pitcher Taylor Deason, third baseman Sarah Beth Roberts and outfielder Stephanie Rieck.
"I think that I have to pile up all the experiences I've had," Tydingco said last week. "As seniors we've been through it all and learned from the seniors before us. So now it's really about giving back to the program that's taught us everything we know."
Freshman pitcher Rachel Albritton and shortstop Alyssa Taylor are among the newcomers expected to get a chance to play early, along with local freshmen Sam Taylor from Gordon Lee and Cleveland's Yoshi Hooks. Transfers Halen Weeks (Cleveland State) and Victoria Sovak (Rutgers-Newark) could bolster the lineup as well.
UTC will face Long Island and Virginia Tech on Saturday and will wrap up the weekend with another game against Fordham on Sunday.
Jim Tanner has worked as assistant sports editor at the Times Free Press since late 2006. He started at the Times Free Press in 2001 and worked as a news copy/design editor from 2001 through 2006. In addition to working as a night and weekend editor producing local and national sports coverage for print and online readers, Jim occasionally writes local sports and outdoors stories. Jim grew up in Ringgold, Ga., and is a graduate ...