#7 Tennessee Softball Preview

Tennessee Lady Volunteers

Overall Rank: #7
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
Tennessee College Softball Top 44 Team Preview
Tennessee Team Page


The Lady Volunteers have seven starters returning among 13 letter winners for co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly, who are starting their 12th season. The Lady Volunteers have won two SEC titles (2005 and 2011) and have made five trips to the Women’s College World Series. The Volunteers have a veteran team that could make it six trips to the World Series. The team opens their season February 7th in the Red Desert Classic. Ralph Weekly has compiled a 25 year record of 1,067 wins, 357 losses and two ties (.749 winning percentage) while wife Karen has a 16-year record of 789-273-2 (.742 winning percentage). The two have a record of 566-176-2 (.762 winning percentage) in 11 years at Tennessee.

2012: 52-14, 22-6
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Ralph and Karen Weekly

Field Players:
Tennessee has a veteran team returning with 11 position players and seven starters from 2012. The top six hitters are back led by speedster third base/outfielder, two-time All-American, Raven Chavanna (.422).  Chavanna has stolen 102 bases in 114 attempts in her first three years of college softball, including 32 in 35 attempts last season. Also, she only stuck out six times in 187 at bats last season and batted .455 in each of her first two seasons playing college softball.  Also returning are Kat Dotson (OF, 350,), Lauren Gibson (IF, .314), Madison Shipman (IF, .311), Tory Lewis (OF, .288), Melissa Davin (OF/IF,.280) and Melissa Brown (IF, .275).  Gibson smacked 13 round-trippers in 2012 and is the top returning power hitter. The top RBI producer returning is Shipman (63) who also hit 10 homers. Shipman and Gibson had 23 of the team’s 45 homers hit in 2012.

The Renfroe sisters, Ellen and Ivy, return. They combined for all of the team’s 52 wins in 2012 with Ellen winning 27 and Ivy recording 25.  Ivy has a career record of 75-19 with an ERA of 2.10, striking out 589 batters in 599 innings pitched. Ellen has a 53-12 career record so far with an ERA of 1.36 and has fanned 539 batters in 432 innings pitched.  The sisters create one of the top one-two pitching tandems in the SEC and the country.

Who to Watch:
The Renfore sisters will anchor the Volunteer pitching corps and they are difficult to score against as evidenced by their ERAs in 2012. Chavanna is one of the nation’s best players and will be counted on to again lead the Volunteers.

Final Projection:
This is a veteran team that was eliminated early from the 2012 WCWS and would like to return to OKC in 2013 to make a better showing. Tennessee has solid pitching and depth. Slap hitting, bunting and speed have been the hallmarks of the Volunteers in the past and more of the same is expected in 2013. The team also has an outstanding defense and led the nation with .982 fielding percentage last season and was picked in the pre-season to win the Eastern Division of the SEC.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Madison Shipman, IF, 212
Hits: Raven Chavanne, OF/3B, 79
Home Runs: Lauren Gibson, IF, 13
RBIs: Madison Shipman, IF, 63
Runs: Lauren Gibson, IF, 54
Stolen Bases:  Raven Chavanne, OF/3B, 32

Wins: Ellen Renfroe, P, 27
Innings Pitched: Ellen Renfroe, P, 231.0
Strikeouts: Ellen Renfroe, P, 280
Saves:  Ellen Renfore, P, 4

Madness 2013 NPF Draft Profiles:
#7 Raven Chavanne
#9 Lauren Gibson

Madness 2013 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#18 Rainey Gaffin
#63 Lexi Overstreet
#83 Erin Gabriel


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