EMORY, Va. – The Emory & Henry College Softball Team is heading into its fourth season under the direction coaching expertise of Tommy Forrester. In just three years, Forrester has made his way to second on the E&H all-time wins list for softball coaches. Although the 2016 campaign did not end up the way the Wasps had planned, this year's roster is reloaded with very talented pitchers and great young players.
Emory & Henry returns six seniors for the 2017 season. Riley Pudney (Beech Mountain, N.C.) has been a four-year starter for the Wasps at shortstop and second base. Pudney hit .268 and scored 24 runs as a junior. Ragan Halsey (Hillsville, Va.) played in 32 games for the Wasps at third base and the former Third Team All-ODAC honoree would certainly love to receive the honor again. Jordan Chrisley (Dublin, Va.) missed most of the season last year with an injury but looks to return to her all-league form from her freshman year. Brittany Scott (Elizabethton, Tenn.) scored nine runs as a junior, while Alison Hughs (Woodlawn, Tenn.) had three RBI on the year. Danielle Loving (Elizabethton, Tenn.) played in 37 games as a utility player and was second on the team with four home runs. The team will look to these six seniors for both production and leadership.
Junior Caley Hodge (Elizabethton, Tenn.) was the lone Wasp to be named to an All-ODAC team last season. Hodge was selected to the first team after leading E&H in batting average (.395), home runs (seven), and RBI (37). Leah Elswick (Honaker, Va.) was an All-ODAC First-Teamer as a freshman in 2015. Elswick led the ODAC in triples with five and belted two home runs. Junior Bailey Williams (Wilmington, N.C.) played in 17 games as a catcher and tallied six hits on the year. Pitcher Emily Kendrick (Honaker, Va.) is a transfer from Walters State Community College, where she was a NJCAA All-American, looks to see a lot time in the circle.
Amanda Whitlow (Riner, Va.) and Erin Anderson (Aylett, Va.) were key contributors a year ago. Whitlow played in 37 games as a catcher, hit .279, and threw out nine runners. Anderson played in 37 games, as well, and batted .360 playing in the outfield. Madison McClanahan (Abingdon, Va.) hit three home runs in 2016, while Holly Britt (Floyd, Va.) posted a .333 batting average. Rachel Smoot (Riner, Va.) and Vangie Borchert (Asheboro, N.C.) also add depth to a strong sophomore group.
Good pitching is key to a successful team in softball, and Forrester succeeded in bringing in some fresh arms during this recruiting class. Along with Kendrick, Forrester brought in two freshmen pitchers, who will be heavily relied upon for the team to succeed. In all, the Wasps welcome five freshmen for the 2017 campaign.
The Wasps' first games are on Saturday, February 18 against Millsaps College and Greensboro College at the Piedmont Classic. Emory & Henry will open the home portion of its season on Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5 when it hosts the Emory & Henry Tri-Header with Marietta College and Oberlin College.