#28 James Madison Softball 2015 Preview

James Madison Dukes

Overall Rank: #28
Conference Rank: #1 CAA
#28 James Madison Softball 2015 Preview
James Madison Team Page


A record-setting year came to a heartbreaking end last season for James Madison in the Lexington Regional. After winning a record-setting 45 games and losing a program-low 15, the Dukes fell in an elimination game to DePaul 4-3, ending their season. Expectations will be high for the Dukes as they bring back many of their top players.

2014: 45-15, 15-3
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mickey Dean

Field Players:
James Madison averaged over four runs per game last season, scoring 266 runs in their 60 games played. The Dukes bring back seven of their top nine hitters, including six who started 50 or more games, five of whom started all 60 games. Erica Field's sophomore season saw her hit .306, the highest among returnees, as well as knock out 16 doubles and 37 RBI, both of which were team highs. Jailyn Ford provided the team nine home runs, a number that led the team, and drove in 29, while Taylor Newton hit eight round-trippers, second on the team and knocked in 32 RBI, which was also the second highest on the squad. The Dukes weren't the fastest team on the diamond, but they do bring back two players, Niki Prince and Hannah Hayes, who had 14 and 12 stolen bases, respectively.

James Madison had not only one, but two pitchers that could be considered an ace. And both return. Ford was also a monster on the mound, racking up a 24-7 record, 1.26 ERA and striking out 233, while walking only 40 in 228.2 innings. Some of her impressive games included shutouts over Louisiana-Lafayette, Cal, Oregon and North Carolina. Her counterpart is senior Heather Kiefer, who went 20-8 with a 2.04 ERA. While Ford is more of a strikeout pitcher, Kiefer pitches more to contact.

Who to Watch:
Who will replace third baseman/shortstop Caitlin Sandy? She led the team in average (.354), hits (62) and added 10 doubles, eight home runs and 32 RBI. The Dukes may look for more from Madyson Moran, who started all 60 games at third base as a freshman.

Final Projection:
The Dukes have the talent to defeat more well-known teams again this season. Behind a solid 1-2 combo of Ford and Kiefer in the circle, James Madison might be able to improve on last season's success and make it past the regional round of the NCAA Tournament. Field caught all but five innings last season, so it'll be interesting to see if she can keep up her offensive numbers if she catches nearly every inning again. James Madison loaded up the schedule again, this year heading to tournaments in Alabama, where they will face Alabama twice and Michigan, as well as in Orlando, Florida, where they'll face Minnesota, Georgia and Missouri in consecutive games.  

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Erica Field, C, 186
Hits: Erica Field, C, 57
Home Runs: Jailyn Ford, P/UT, 9
RBIs: Jailyn Ford, P/UT, 37
Runs: Jailyn Ford, P/UT, 36
Stolen Bases: Niki Prince, OF, 14

Wins: Jailyn Ford, P/UT, 24
Innings Pitched: Jailyn Ford, P/UT, 228.2
Strikeouts: Jailyn Ford, P/UT, 233
Complete Games: Jailyn Ford, P/UT, 21


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