#31 James Madison Softball 2017 Preview

James Madison Dukes
Overall Rank: #31
Conference Rank: #1 CAA
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The Dukes are coming off their most successful season, one in which they set school records. One was the school's first trip to the Super Regionals. Unfortunately for James Madison, they lost in a deciding third game to LSU. Another happened to be setting the highest season-win total in school history for the fourth consecutive season. Last year's squad finished with 50 wins. Unfortunately, the team also lost numerous key pieces to last season's team, including Erica Field and Jailyn Ford, both of whom were selected in the NPF Draft.
2016: 50-6, 18-1
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mickey Dean
Key Departed Players:
Jailyn Ford, UTL, .324 BA, 11 HR, 33 RBI, 1.03 ERA, 18-3, 181 K
Erica Field, C/UTL, .322 BA, 59 H, 35 R, 9 2B
Hannah Hayes, INF, .222 BA, 26 H, 19 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Megan Good, P/INF, 32-3, 0.94 ERA, 222 K, .307 BA, 7 HR, 29 RBI
Morgan Tolle, INF, .337 BA, 59 H, 10 2B, 6 HR, 32 RBI
Taylor Newton, OF, .291 BA, 51 RBI, 46 H, 10 2B, 8 HR
Madyson Moran, INF, .333 BA, 44 H, 7 2B, 5 HR, 30 RBI
Niki Prince, UTL, 41 H, 35 R, 9 2B, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 17-17 SB
Ford and Field had been stalwarts for four years for the Dukes and their presences will be missed. Both have returned to the school, Ford as a volunteer assistant coach and Field as a manager while completing her degree. Luckily for James Madison, it brings back a ton of talent, led by the junior, Megan Good. Whether in the circle or at the plate, she scared her opponents and will continue to do so for two more seasons. The team brings back six of their top eight hitters, so the offense shouldn't miss a beat. The team will need either Jessica McCabe, Jackie Tremain or any of the three freshmen pitchers on the roster to step up and fill the rest of that pitching rotation. The schedule brings no favors, as JMU faces Missouri in its first game of the year as part of the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational. The Dukes will face Mizzou again, as well as USC Upstate in the tournament. Other tough nonconference tests will include Auburn (2x), South Florida, South Alabama, UCF and doubleheaders with UNC and Virginia Tech. The Dukes do get four conference series at home, but have to travel to rival Hofstra to start conference play.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament


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