Panthers' first pitch set for Mar. 6 in Florida
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University softball team was picked to finish second in the Little East Conference (LEC) in 2020 following a vote of the league's nine head coaches.
#3 Eastern Connecticut, which came one win shy of an appearance in the National Championship last spring, was the unanimous choice to capture the league title, accruing eight first place votes for 64 points. Plymouth State collected the final first place vote for 52 points, while UMass Dartmouth (48) and Southern Maine (40) rounded out the top four.
UMass Boston (36) nipped WestConn (33) for fifth, with Rhode Island College (25), Castleton (15) and Keene State (11) filling the seventh, eighth and ninth spots.
Head coach Bruce Addison, entering his 17th season with the Panthers, is looking for the team's first LEC Tournament title after narrowly missing out the last three seasons. PSU went 22-18 last year, including an 11-5 mark in the conference, to finish second in the league after claiming back-to-back regular season titles in 2017 and 2018. The Panthers went 2-2 in the tournament, falling to eventual champion Eastern Connecticut, 1-0, to come one game short of the title game. He begins the year just one win shy of 300 for his career.
Senior Caitlyn Miller (Lee, N.H.) is back as the ace of the pitching staff. A two-time All-LEC honoree, she is one of the top pitchers in program history and already owns the school record for saves (11). Her 41 career wins are second-most all-time, while she ranks fourth in career strikeouts with 267. She led the LEC in appearances (32) and saves (4), was second in innings pitched (152.2) and strikeouts (92), third in wins (14), starts (21) and complete games (14), fourth in earned run average (2.02) and fifth in opponent's batting average (.240) last season and allowed just one earned run over 21.0 innings in the LEC Tournament (0.33 ERA).
Sophomore Madison Harris (Randolph, Mass.) is expected to provide the offensive firepower. Her .340 batting average leads all returners, while she was third on the team with a .481 slugging percentage after launching four home runs, tied for the team lead, and collecting a team-high 29 runs batted in. Junior Samantha Cushing (Amherst, N.H.) is also looking for a big season offensively after hitting .286 last year with six doubles and 13 RBI.
Senior Jen Landers (Berlin, N.H.) provides the Panthers with solid defense at the hot corner. The slick fielder led the team with 54 assists last year and regularly made exceptionally difficult plays look routine.
Plymouth State opens its season with 12 contests at THE Spring Games in Florida starting March 6. The Panthers kick off the home slate Apr. 4 against Rhode Island College.
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