TACOMA, Washington - Although the Puget Sound softball team's 2015 record (4-36, 1-27 NWC) wasn't far off from the 2014 campaign (3-31, 2-26 NWC), a look beyond the wins-loss column indicates significant improvement by the Loggers, especially at the plate.
Puget Sound crushed 12 home runs in 2015, a significant jump from the three long balls in 2014. In fact, the Loggers' home run total is the most since 2011. Five Loggers finished the year with multiple home runs, led by three off the bat of Kayla Andrus. Erica Gott, Bailee Larson, Paige Schaffer, and Jaci Young each hit two homers.
Puget Sound's 52 extra-base hits are also the program's most in four years. Gott, a freshman, smacked eight doubles, the most by a Logger since Aryn Grause finished with nine in 2010. Gott was named an All-Northwest Conference Honorable Mention following her rookie season. She tied her sister, Jessica Gott, and Lisa Colombo for the team-lead in batting with a .298 average.
Young, a sophomore, continued to prove she's a formidable two-way player. She tossed 100.1 innings as a pitcher, and started in centerfield when she wasn't in the circle. Andrus tossed 87 innings in her first year as a Logger. She recorded seven extra-base hits in just 47 at-bats. Only Erica Gott (10) and Young (eight) finished with more extra-base hits.
Larson opened the 2015 campaign on a tear. Through the first six contests, the sophomore catcher hit 9-for-19 (.474) with two home runs and four RBI. Puget Sound bats slowed down at the start of conference play, but the Loggers bounced back during the six-game spring trip to Tucson, Arizona.
Puget Sound picked up wins over Dubuque, Denison, and St. Joseph's (Brooklyn) in Arizona. Despite losing the opening game against Wisconsin-La Crosse, Andrus pitched a completed game and yielded only two earned runs. Young followed with a complete game of her own and allowed just one earned run in the win over Dubuque. Young was just as good in the victory over Denison, yielding one earned run in another complete game. Southpaw Kasey Stern picked up her first-career victory after striking out eight through six innings against St. Joseph's.
Young was the only returning pitcher for the Loggers entering 2015. Andrus, Stern, and Jessica Gott were all first-year pitchers for Puget Sound. Stern appeared in 15 games (four starts), while Gott made eight appearances (seven starts).
"They each possessed a different set of tools, allowing us to better match-up against our opponents," Puget Sound head coach Kellyn Tate said of the pitching staff. "We continued to create competition at all nine positions with an athletic freshman class, and I'm excited that we improved our overall power numbers."
In all, 15 Loggers played in either their first or second year with Puget Sound in 2015. A strong foundation is place as Tate continues to build a competitive program.