#39 Notre Dame Softball 2014 Preview

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #6 ACC
#39 Notre Dame Softball 2014 Preview
Notre Dame Team Page


It seems like it happens every year with clockwork precision. The Notre Dame softball team starts up its season, and before long the Fighting Irish have 40 victories and an NCAA tournament appearance locked up. What is the secret to Notre Dame’s success? There are no secrets, as it turns out. Everything the Irish does is out in the open. Strong pitching to clutch hitting, timely defensive plays and solid offensive efforts rule the day. It is that success level which has allowed Coach Deanna Gumpf to rack up over 500 victories in just 13 years at the helm. The biggest challenge for the Irish this year may very well be the move to a brand new conference, as they have traded the spacious Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

2013: 43-15, 19-3
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Deanna Gumpf

Field Players:
With 25 seasons of 30 wins or more under its belt, Notre Dame has never had a losing season since the program’s inception in 1989. This year should be no different thanks to the return of 13 letter winners (or monogram winners, as Notre Dame calls its players). Heading the power parade is senior infielder Laura Winter, whose .338 average is impressive, as are her 17 home runs and 52 runs batted in. Outfielder Emilee Koerner, a junior, batted .439 and slugged .772 along the way in 2013, with 79 hits, 21 doubles and 11 home runs. Another junior, catcher Cassidy Whidden, slugged nine homers and batted .287. With infielder Jenna Simon (.316) and outfielder Lauren Stuhr (.294) leading the way as well, the Notre Dame offense did not have a weak link from top to bottom.

Two pitchers come to mind here, one of which we have already talked about. Not only is Winter a deadly force at the plate, put her in the pitchers circle and she is lights out. Winter went 29-12 with a 1.72 earned run average, 31 complete games and 306 strikeouts. It was enough to give her Big East Player of the Year honors last year, but time will tell how Winter handles the change to the ACC. The loss of Brittany O’Donnell to graduation means sophomore Allie Rhodes should become Notre Dame’s No. 2 pitcher, and Rhodes should get more work as Gumpf begins making the transition to Rhodes as a No. 1 pitcher in 2015.

Who to Watch:
Although Notre Dame is along the Michigan-Indiana border, Gumpf did a superb job of recruiting in the softball-rich Southern California market. Watch for Dana Bouquet (Santa Maria), Rachel Nasland (San Diego) and Karley Wester (Huntington Beach) to make an impact as soon as possible, especially with Nasland as a pitcher. Notre Dame can always use more arms, that’s for sure. The other two girls new to the roster are infielders Maddie Marotti (Dublin, Ohio) and Kimmy Sullivan (Greenwood, Ind.).

Final Projection:
Notre Dame should start out with a solid record thanks to a non-conference schedule that includes some tough tests like Louisville, Missouri, UC Davis, California, Cal State Fullerton, and tournaments like the Mary Nutter Classic at Cathedral City, Calif., and the Diamond 9 Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. After that comes the ACC, and that is when we should get a good idea of how strong this squad will be. With 13 letter winners back the odds are pretty good that 2014 will be a strong year at Notre Dame. Another 40 wins should be a piece of cake, but what happens after that is the question mark.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Emilee Koerner, OF, 180
Hits: Emilee Koerner, OF, 79
Home Runs: Laura Winter, P/IF, 17
RBIs: Laura Winter, P/IF, 52
Runs: Emilee Koerner, OF, 51
Stolen Bases: Jenna Simon, IF, 17

Wins: Laura Winter, P/IF, 29
Innings Pitched: Laura Winter, P/IF, 268.1
Strikeouts: Laura Winter, P/IF, 306
Saves: Allie Rhodes, P, 2

Madness 2014 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#21 Karley Wester
#56 Rachel Nasland

Madness 2014 Draft Rankings:
#15 Laura Winter


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