BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Following a Big South Runner-up finish in 2016, Campbell softball returns to action Feb. 10-12 at the Campbell Invitational in Buies Creek. The squad returns the core of its lineup from last season, having only lost one starter from the year before.. This year's squad features four freshmen, eight sophomores, two juniors, and seven seniors.
Campbell welcomes five new faces to the Creek in Holly Brooks, Madison Martinez, Haydn Parker, Megan Richards, and Nikki Wild. Wild joins the Camels after one season at the University of Rhode Island where she appeared in two games in 2016.
Richards and Brooks will add depth in the circle for Campbell, while Parker and Wild provides depth at the catcher position. Martinez provides another infielder for the Camels to use throughout the season.
Seniors Katie Baker and Amber Schisler lead the 2017 pitching staff with Richards and Brooks adding new looks to the Campbell rotation. Baker finished with 134 2/3 innings pitched and 111 strikeouts in 37 appearances during the 2016 season. She pitched to an 11-12 record with three complete games.
Schisler added another arm in relief for Campbell, making 34 appearances and 81 2/3 innings pitched. She tallied 45 strikeouts and finished with a 5-4 record.
Bailey Bjorson enters her senior season as a mainstay behind home plate for the Camels. Last season she made 98 plate appearances in 51 games and scored six times. She knocked in 13 RBI and connected on three home runs. She completed the year with a .977 fielding percentage and 221 putouts.
Taylor Campbell will also see time behind the plate for CU. In her first year at Campbell, she made 30 at-bats with seven hits and three RBI. She registered 37 putouts and a .977 field percentage.
Campbell will have multiple options throughout the infield in 2017. At first base, the Camelswill have junior Melissa Tullar as well as Schisler to their disposal. Schisler finished the season tied with Rachel McCollum with a team-high 16 home runs and 46 RBI. She was also named the 2017 Big South Preseason Player of the Year. Tullar made 116 at-bats in 2016, with 31 hits and 25 RBI.
Megan Mozingo and Madison Casto will see time at second base this season. Mozingo appeared in 13 games and Casto played 19 games at second in 2016. Mozingo had 49 at-bats in 2016. She scored 16 times and notched 11 hits. Casto recorded 23 hits in 57 at-bats. She tallied 16 runs in 39 games played.
At shortstop, Coach Bradley will have Madison Herring, Caroline Smith, and Mozingo to fill the role. Herring and Smith combined for 50 games at short, with Mozingo making five appearances in that position. Herring had 67 at-bats in 2016 and scored 18 times, along with four doubles. She also was a perfect 13-for-13 in stolen bases. Smith finished with 120 at-bats in 2016, where she recorded 21 RBI and scored 19 times with 32 hits.
A trio of options will be available at third base with Martinez, Herring, and Chandler Patterson. Patterson appeared in 17 games at the hot corner, with Herring seeing time at other positions. Patterson had 84 at-bats last season, where she scored 14 times and drove in 11 runs. She tallied four doubles and three home runs in 2016.
DuBoise saw action in 56 games in centerfield for Campbell last season, providing quality defense with her speed and strong arm. McCurry appeared in 36 games in the outfield, with Christa Hall appearing in 34 games.
DuBoise finished with 168 at-bats, the second most on the team last season. She scored 24 times on 55 hits, and knocked in 32 runs. McCurry provided another strong bat in the lineup, as she scored 12 runs on 26 hits and knocked in 24 runs. She also hit six home runs and six doubles on the year. Hall recorded 49 at-bats and scored eight runs last season with one home run.
Outfield depth also includes Jessica Anderson, Rachel McCollum, and Abby Perryman. Anderson recorded 19 games in the outfield, McCollum with nine and Perryman twice appeared in the outfield during 2016.
Anderson finished 2016 with 46 plate appearances in 29 games. She scored nine times with nine RBI and five doubles. Perryman appeared in 14 games with 12 at-bats. She scored twice and knocked in three runs. McCollum had a stellar 2016 with her 16 home runs, 46 RBI and team-high 41 runs scored.
Campbell opens the season with the Campbell Invitational, Feb. 10-12, at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium in Buies Creek. The tournament will host North Carolina Central, St. Francis (Pa.), and Maryland-Eastern Shore.