Jan. 28, 2012
Louisiana Tech will boast the most depth in the outfield that it has seen in quite some time with eight players vying for starts this season.
Included in the mix are six returners and two newcomers as Dawson will have a plethora of options throughout the season.
"Every outfielder from last year's squad returns again for 2012, but with the addition of a transfer and a freshman we have added some much needed depth," Dawson said.
Harmon made 52 starts in the outfield last season with 41 coming in right field, four in centerfield and seven in left field. The Holden, Louisiana native batted .275 on the season with six doubles, one triple and one memorable game-winning home run in a 1-0 victory over Hawaii.
"Kendra has been a starter in our outfield for the last two years," Dawson said. "With her experience we look for her to lead this group. Kendra will continue to be our leadoff hitter this season. Her ability to get things started is a key for our offense. This is the strongest I have seen Kendra, and I look for her to have a great senior season."
The left-handed Harmon is a tough out at the top of the lineup as she ranked in the Top 10 in the WAC last year in putting the ball in play, striking out only 17 times in 193 plate appearances. Harmon led Tech with 11 multi-hit games and her 12-game on-base streak was the longest by any Lady Techster during the season.
Godwin signed with Tech after an impressive prep career at Princeton High School in Texas where she played both second base and centerfield while leading the program to three straight district titles.
"Janine is another one of our freshmen that joined us this season," Dawson said. "She has come in ready to accept the challenge of playing at the collegiate level. Janine has great speed and a great arm especially when you consider her size. She has a number of weapons from the left side of the plate and her speed can also be utilized off the bench. With her attitude and God-given ability, I know she will have a great career in this program."
Senior Charday Wilson and junior college transfer Dacia Hale will man centerfield this season. Although Wilson started 37 games in CF last season, Hale is the odds-on favorite to be the opening day centerfielder while Wilson will also be utilized off the bench as a pinch runner with her impressive speed.
Hale comes to Ruston after spending the past two years playing at the College of the Siskiyous where she led the team to the league championship in both 2010 and 2011. She was named first team all-Golden Valley Conference twice while batting .375 with 18 doubles, 37 RBI and 57 runs last year.
"Dacia comes to us as a transfer from a very well-coached program, and I look for her to have an immediate impact this season," Dawson said. "She has all of the physical attributes of a centerfielder, and I am excited about her addition to our outfield. She is a very hard worker and expects a lot out of herself."
During her high school career at Glencoe High School in Hillsboro, Oregon, she led the program to three straight state runner-up titles and was the California Class 5A state player of the year in 2009.
Wilson returns for her second and final season as a Lady Techster as the speedy outfielder saw significant playing time last year after signing out of Bossier Parish Community College.
"Charday is our third senior on this year's squad," Dawson said. "As a transfer last year she did a great job for us defensively in the outfield. Charday's speed is something special, and I look for her to contribute to depth in the outfield as well as a pinch runner."
Wilson struggled offensively at times last year, batting .176 with 22 hits and 14 runs scored on the year. She was successful on putting down nine sacrifice bunts and also swiped six bases in nine attempts.
Right field will be crowded for LA Tech as four different players will see some playing time this season. Senior Allie Geisler and a trio of sophomores including Katelynn Hill, Erin Kipp and Cassie Krieg will all share responsibilities as both Geisler and Kipp have roles behind the plate and in the circle.
Krieg, who is the younger sister of the now-graduated record-setting Meghan Krieg, returns for her second season after leading the Lady Techsters with a .300 batting average as a freshman.
"Cassie had a very successful freshman season, and we look for her to build on that success," Dawson said. "She continues to work on consistency at the plate and her improvement on defense is obvious. Cassie worked hard over the summer to improve her speed which only helps her on the defensive end."
After getting off to a red-hot start last season, Krieg missed some time due to injury as she started 20 games in right field and one at the DP position. She recorded 21 hits in 70 at bats with two doubles and one mammoth home run at Utah State.
Hill came on strong at the end of the season for Louisiana Tech after making the switch from second base to the outfield. After being used mostly in a pinch running role for the majority of the season, Hill exploded onto the scene in the final weekend of the regular season.
"Katelynn really came on strong for us at the end of last season," Dawson said. "It has been great to see her continue to make strides during the fall. I see Katelynn challenging for starting time in our outfield. She showed this fall that she can be an offensive threat we have to have in our line-up."
After recording only one hit in 11 at bats through the first 49 games, Hill hit safely in six of the last seven games, going 9-for-23 with one double, one triple and one home run and four RBI.
Geisler (see catchers) will also see some time in right field along with Erin Kipp, who batted .184 as a freshman. However, Kipp - like Hill - showed tremendous progress at the plate late in the season, recording all six of her RBI in her final eight at bats of the year. Kipp's two-run home run off of all-WAC pitcher Michelle Moses gave the Lady Techsters a 2-0 win over Fresno State in the WAC Tournament.