#16 Kentucky Softball 2019 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats
Overall Rank: #16
Conference Rank: #8 SEC
 Kentucky Logo
For the tenth straight season Kentucky reached the NCAA Tournament. And for the fifth time in that stretch, Coach Rachel Lawson’s squad at least reached the Super Regionals. Kentucky finished 8-15 in SEC play and this is not a team that is going to seriously compete for an SEC title. However, if everything goes well, Kentucky should make another deep push towards the Super Regionals and possibly beyond.
2018: 35-21, 8-15
2018 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rachel Lawson
Key Departed Players:
Brooklin Hinz, OF, .347 BA, 4 HR, 26 RBI
Erin Rethlake, P/UTL, .306 BA, 14 RBI, 17 SB, 3.00 ERA, 11-5 W/L, 100.1 IP, 80 SO
Key Returning Players:
Bailey Vick, OF, .357 BA, 11 RBI, 17 SB
Katie Reed, IF, .352 BA, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 14 SB
Jenny Schaper, C, .323 BA, 6 HR, 35 RBI
Abbey Cheek, UTL, .317 BA, 18 HR, 56 RBI, 11 SB
Alex Martens, IF, .313 BA, 8 HR, 38 RBI
Mallory Peyton, IF, .260 BA, 7 HR, 27 RBI
Grace Baalman, P, 2.72 ERA, 14-9 W/L, 136.1 IP, 98 SO
Autumn Humes, P, 3.26 ERA, 9-7 W/L, 103.0 IP, 72 SO
Kentucky returns a lot of experience to this year’s team, including two their three regular pitchers. Grace Baalman showed a ton of potential as a freshman, going 14-9 with a 2.72 ERA. She struck out 98 batters in 136.1 innings and is ready to play a larger role. Junior Autumn Humes also pitched over 100 innings in 2018, going 9-7 with a 3.26 ERA. This is not a staff that is going to dominate in the always tough SEC, but they are good enough to remain competitive. The Wildcats ranked fourth in the conference in scoring last season and they could get even better this time around. Abbey Cheek is the team’s most explosive hitter. She hit .317 with 18 homeruns and 56 RBIs. Katie Reed, Jenny Schaper, Alex Martens and Mallory Peyton also have some pop to their bat. And with Bailey Vick being a nuisance on the base paths, Kentucky will score runs against just about everybody. As long as the increase in experience on the mound leads to more consistency, Kentucky should again be hosting a regional and potentially aiming for a trip to the Women’s College World Series.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament