Mercer softball has championship aspirations this season

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Mercer softball has championship aspirations this season

Mercer softball Head Coach Stephanie DeFeo tosses batting practice one week before regular season play is to begin.

Mercer softball Head Coach Stephanie DeFeo tosses batting practice one week before regular season play is to begin.

John Pittman

Mercer softball Head Coach Stephanie DeFeo tosses batting practice one week before regular season play is to begin.

John Pittman

John Pittman

Mercer softball Head Coach Stephanie DeFeo tosses batting practice one week before regular season play is to begin.

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Mercer softball is looking to build on last season’s success after being picked to finish second in the Southern Conference preseason poll.

Last season, the Bears won 33 games, including a win over the fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. They were able to finish second in the SoCon regular season standings.

“Our win against UGA got us more well-known and out there, so people are expecting big things from us this year,” said senior Megan Lane.

However, the team lost six players to graduation, including outfielder Megan Rud, who led the team in batting average, and Caroline Taylor who led the team in home runs.

“We have a lot of talented freshmen and our returners are very strong,” said Head Coach Stephanie DeFeo.

The team’s standout returner is Megan Lane who started in every game and led the team with a .312 batting average. She also earned a spot on the all-SoCon first team.

“We don’t have the power that we used to, but if we utilize our speed then that can really benefit us this year,” Lane said. “We have a young team, we click really well, and it is just a great group of girls.”

The Bears will have a tough road schedule as they play many great non-conference opponents, including South Alabama, Lipscomb and Auburn.

Also part of their schedule is a two-game series with the University of Florida Gators down in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators are fresh off a season that saw them win the Southeastern Conference championship and participate in the Women’s College World Series.

“If we do well (in non-conference play) we will be ready and prepared for conference play,” DeFeo said. “Our game is to just take one pitch, one out, one inning at a time, take care of the little things and get better every game.”

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