#7 Tennessee Softball Preview

Tennessee   Lady Volunteers

Overall Rank: #7th
Conference Rank: #2 Southeastern Conference
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Veteran coaches Ralph (1,015-343-2) and Karen Weekly (737-254-2) have the Volunteers poised for another return to the Women’s College World Series after being surprised by Oklahoma State in the super regional in 2011 by a score of 6-5.

2011:  49-12, 20-8
2011 Postseason:  NCAA
Coach: Ralph and Karen Weekly

Field Players:
Included among the returnees for the Lady Vols are (2011 stat totals in parentheses): 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA First Team All-American and current USA Softball Senior Women's National Team member, junior, 2B, Lauren Gibson (.420, 13 doubles, eight HR's, 63 RBIs, 12-12 stolen bases); 2011 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year, Top 10 Finalist and Louisville Slugger/NFCA Second Team All-American, 2011 SEC batting champion, 3B/OF, Raven Chavanne (.455., 90 hits, 66 runs scored, 33-36 stolen bases); 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Third Team All-American, P, Ellen Renfroe; 2011 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Top 25 Finalist and Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Southeast Region selection, OF, Kat Dotson (.401 avg., 73 hits, 54 runs scored, 10 homers, 64 RBIs, 26-31 stolen bases); 2011 Southeastern Conference All-Freshman choice and recent USA Softball Junior Women's National Team member Madison Shipman  (.292, 5 homers, 27 RBIs); power-hitting utility player Shelby Burchell (.325, 15 homers, 54 RBIs); and 2010 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Southeast Region selection, Ivy Renfroe.

The Renfroe sisters, Ivy (19-4 record with 2.07 ERA with 157 strikeouts in 152.1 innings) and Ellen (26-7 record with 1.50 ERA and 259 strikeouts in 201 innings), lead the staff which also includes Cat Hosfield (4-1, 2.92 ERA). This staff had a team ERA of 1.86 to rank 23rd in Division One.

Who to Watch:
UT has an impressive group of freshmen including Cheyanne Tarango, (P/IF), who hit a grand slam to power the USA Junior National Team to the ISF World Championship in Cape Town, South Africa beating Japan 4-1; Hannah Akamine (C/IF); Haley Fagan (P/IF) and Hannah Trainer (IF). The four newcomers were ranked No. 2 in the nation for 2011 by ESPN Rise.

Final Projection:
Tennessee is clearly one of the nation’s best teams and could be one of the best teams the Weeklys have had since they arrived in Knoxville for the 2001-2002 season.  This team led the nation in batting (.348) and has the power, speed, defense and pitching to have an outstanding season.  Five Volunteers were named to the SEC pre-season All-Conference first or second team by College Sports Madness.

Projected Postseason:  CWS

Returning Leaders:
At Bats:  Raven Chavanne, OF/3B, 198
Hits:  Raven Chavanne, OF/3B, 90
Home Runs: Shelby Burchell, UT, 15
RBIs: Lauren Gibson, 2B, 63
Runs:  Raven Chavanne, OF/3B, 66
Stolen Bases: Raven Chavanne OF/3B, 33

Wins:  Ellen Renfroe, P, 26
Innings Pitched: Ellen Renfroe, P, 201
Strikeouts: Ellen Renfroe, P, 259
Saves: Ivy Renfroe, P, 3

Madness 2012 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#23 Haley Fagan
#33 Cheyenne Tarango
#44 Hannah Akamine