SOUTH PRINCE GEORGE, VA -- An evenly balanced freshman to sophomore Richard Bland College of William & Mary softball team is looking to bring home the college's first-ever Region X Tournament title and advance to the NJCAA Division I softball championships this season.
Last year as a Division II JUCO team, the Statesmen advanced to the Region X Tournament championship game and finished the season with an impressive 31-15 record. The team broke the school record for home runs in a season with 33 and will rely on those big bats again in 2019.
The Statesmen feature the leadership of 10 sophomores, many of whom were starters last year, and the addition of new head coach Troy Jacobs, who was inducted into the Central Virginia ASA Hall of Fame as a Coach in 2013.
After a strong fall campaign, RBC will begin the 2019 season at the JUCO Jumpstart in Kissimmee, Florida on Friday, Jan. 25 and again on Saturday, Jan. 26. In Florida, the Statesmen will play five games before returning north with an away doubleheader against Southeastern-Whiteville on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
The Statesmen will play their home opener on Saturday, Feb. 16 against Spartanburg Methodist. Here's a look at the 2019 edition of RBC softball.
INFIELD — The infield includes mostly returning sophomores, with two sophomores earning All-Region X honors. Katie Haney and Mary Simms were garnered First-Team honors and Megan Vincent was selected to the Second-Team. The RBC infield is comprised of determined athletes including Skyler Bagnall who started 31 of 37 games and had a fielding percentage of .897, Allison Jarrett who starting 27 of 33 games with a fielding percentage of .870, and Mary Simms who started in 44 of 46 games with the teams second highest fielding percentage of .978. Katie Haney started in 35 of 37 games with a fielding percentage of .848, and Kayla Hand who started 17 of 19 games and led all infielders with a .989 fielding percentage.
OUTFIELD — The Statesmen's outfield is unlike the infield as it features mainly freshmen. Although the outfield is young, there is experience, led by sophomores Taylor Bilyard, who started 43 of 45 games and earned a fielding percentage of .909, and Jez Chitty who started 26 of 35 games and had a fielding percentage of .916.
PITCHERS — There are three pitchers on the Statesmen rotation, two of returners. Megan Vincent, who was All-Region 10 Second Team, made 26 pitching appearances, best on the team. Vincent earned seven complete games, three shutouts, and three saves. She recorded 86 strikeouts which were tied for first on the team. Joana "Joa" Holland returns for the Statesmen after having a very successful fall pre-season. Holland has committed to play for NCAA Division I Norfolk State University next season and adds depth to the rotation. Last season she had 18 pitching appearances with eight starts, four complete games, two shutouts, and a fielding percentage of .846.
HITTING — Simms returns as the top returning hitter in the RBC lineup. In 154 at-bats, she had a .403 average with a team-best seven home runs, 62 hits, and 41 RBI. Haney followed with a .396 average with 42 hits. Chitty rounds out the top three with a .349 average. As a team, RBC hit .354 last season and had an on-base percentage of .410. The team slugging percentage was a solid 540.