Season Review: 2012 UMPI Softball
Record: 14-21 (4-1 at home)
It was a tale of two seasons for the Lady Owls in 2012. The first half was filled with injuries as first year coach Peter Coffin searched to find where his people fit the best. Midway through the schedule the Owls were a meager 2-17. In the second half however, players became comfortable within their roles on the team. They were also able to avoid the injury bug and with everything coming together, were able to finish the second half of the season with a record of 12 – 4.
1st year head coach Peter Coffin talks about the season:
What aspects of the TEAM improved as the season progressed?
Peter Coffin: Basically, we began to play as a team. Our hitting and fielding also improved, and our ability to take advantage of other teams' mistakes allowed us to gain momentum throughout the game. Offensively, we were very aggressive on the bases. We were able to steal 67 bases. We also had players like Lainey Herring (Jr./Houlton, ME) and Kellie Peers Jr./Caswell, ME) who handled the bat very well, and their bunting ability allowed us to move players into scoring position by playing small ball.
Are there any INDIVIDUALS that impress you and/or stepped up their games?
PC: I believe the freshmen were able to get more comfortable with the college game. Players like Whitney Donovan (Fr./Ashland, ME) and Danielle Smith (Fr./Phillips, ME) improved every game. Donovan and Jen Ouellette (So./Van Buren, ME) were two of my players that were willing, as well as capable, of playing many positions. These two stepped up and did whatever they were asked to do to help the team. Danielle Smith became the everyday first baseman and became a good hitter as the season progressed. Kallie Pelletier (Jr./Madawaska, ME) became the starting left fielder, as she became more comfortable with the position, she continued to improve both in the field and at the plate. Veteran players like Desiree Smith, Carolynn Tuck, Lainey Herring, Kellie Peers, and Krista Coffin (So./Presque Isle, ME) led by example and played their positions extremely well. Krista Coffin missed the first 8 weeks of the season with a knee injury and really reached her potential the final two weeks of he season. Kellie Peers came to the infield this year to play third base, when Desiree Smith took over the catching responsibilities. Kellie's ability to learn the position and become comfortable at the position is a huge reason for our team's success. Desiree Smith took over the catching position and was able to manage the game for us from that spot.
What are some characteristics/instances that you feel defined this year's squad?
PC: Some of the players brought very strong personalities to the team. This is a team that has had 4 coaches in four years. Sometimes, it is hard to accept new coaching styles and trust other players. As the season progressed, roles became more defined and people became more comfortable with each other. When people were willing to let their guard down and accept people for who they are, we became a team. That is very evident by seeing how our record improved the second half of the season versus the first half.
Desiree Smith (Catcher / Thomaston, ME)
The Association of NCAA Division III Independents 1st Team catcher will move on to a coaching role with the Owls next season. A prototypical lead off hitter, UMPI will need to replace Smith's team high .413 average at the top of the order and 29 stolen bases.
Kathleen Higgins (INF / Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia)
Higgins locked down the 2B role for the Owls in 2012. Her good eye at the plate led to 10 walks to only 9 K's on the season and a .417 on base percentage.
Carolynn Tuck (OF / Brewer, ME)
The Owls will also need to replace one of their most clutch hitters in Tuck. The senior led the team with 25 RBI.
The Owls' do not lose alot in QUANTITY but will lose some in QUALITY with the graduation of Smith, Higgins, and Tuck. To build upon a very strong 2nd half of the 2012 season, underclassmen will need to take the reigns and continue to progress. The program should be bouyed by having consistency at the coaching position with Coffin returning for his sophomore campaign in 2013. Not only should the team be able to avoid the "growing pains" of learning a new coach, but the softball staff now has a full off-season for recruiting, a luxury this year's staff was not afforded.
"Getting the number of players up is a key. We need to have more players who can step in and play when we do have injuries. I need to do a better job of developing a conditioning program for the players. As the coach, I will also have to help define roles earlier in the season so we can become a team and work towards the same goals on and off the field."
-- Owls' softball coach Peter Coffin