#22 James Madison Softball 2016 Preview

James Madison Dukes
Overall Rank: #22
Conference Rank: #1 Colonial
James Madison Logo 

James Madison is coming off of a season that saw it host an NCAA Regional. But what may be even more impressive is that the Dukes went undefeated from March 8th-May 7th. A full two months, or 36 consecutive games. The Dukes also had two All-Americans in Megan Good (Second Team All-American) and Jailyn Ford (Third Team All-American), the first time the program had two All-Americans in the same season in program history. The All-American award was the second for Ford, who was named to the Second Team in 2014.
2015: 48-10, 19-0
2015 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mickey Dean
Field Players:
This will be scary for James Madison opponents. The team brings back every single one of their everyday starters. Ford was named last year's CAA Player of the Year after hitting .383, while scoring 44 times and hitting a team-high 11 home runs. She also drove in 44 RBI, scored 44 times, hit nine doubles and five triples.  Ford tied the career record at James Madison with 35 home runs as well. Erica Field hit a team-high .417, while hitting a ridiculous 21 doubles, 85 hits and 62 RBI, the latter two also being tops on the team. Taylor Newton and Megan Good each hit 10 home runs and drive in 49 and 43 runs, respectively. Of the nine returnees, eight hit .313 or better. Five of the players also hit double digit doubles. The squad hit .347, while outscoring their opponents 345-109. They also stole 80 more bases, finishing with 88 steals out of 118 attempts.
Good was named a top-10 finalist for the NFCA Freshman of the Year Award after winning both the CAA Freshman and Pitcher of the Year Awards and broke four James Madison single-season records in wins (29), ERA (1.05), opposing batting average (.164) and combined shutouts (4), while beginning her career by winning her first 26 decisions. She also had a CAA-leading 199 strikeouts. Ford went 16-5 with a 2.30 ERA and limited opponents to a .165 batting average while providing 9.83 strikeouts per seven, picking up 192 total strikeouts. She also set four career records for wins (64), shutouts (24), strikeouts (634) and complete games (56). On April 15, Ford tossed JMU's first-ever perfect game at East Carolina while simultaneously breaking the career strikeouts record. 
Who to Watch:
It's easy to say the entire team is to watch here, as it will be tough to repeat the streak of 36-0 as the Dukes did last season. Two players we'll go with are Ford and Good though. Good had a remarkable collegiate debut season, but now that teams have had an entire year and offseason to see her, will she be able to keep up the great pitching and hitting? What about Ford? Will she be able to be an All-American for three years in a row? Watch out for freshmen Jenny Behan and Savannah Wood. Wood had a nice fall season, while Behan had 66 hits, 17 home runs, 63 RBI and 63 runs scored, while hitting a school-record .532.
Final Projection:
It's rare to see a team bring back its entire starting lineup like James Madison does.  What it does mean is that the Dukes will be an experienced group this year as they look to improve on last year's disappointing finish. With the return of two aces, both of whom are dual threats at both the plate and circle, teams will be hard pressed to score against James Madison. The Dukes have put together a challenging schedule that includes matchups with UCF and Alabama the first weekend, as well as games against Tennessee, Nebraska (2x), Auburn, Arizona (2x), Arizona State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina. The Dukes also get rival Hofstra at home to end the season.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament
Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Erica Field, C/UT, 199
Hits: Erica Field, C/UT, 85
Home Runs: Jailyn Ford, P/UT, 11
RBIs: Erica Field, C/UT, 62
Runs: Jailyn Ford, P/UT, 44
Stolen Bases: Hannah Hayes, INF, 14
Wins: Megan Good, P, 29
Innings Pitched: Megan Good, P, 193.1
Strikeouts: Megan Good, P, 199
Complete Games: Megan Good, P, 21
Madness 2016 Draft Rankings:
#8 Jailyn Ford