Softball Season Preview: Infield2012 All-SEC Freshman Selection Allison Brown Moves To Her Natural Position Of Third Base
Sophomore Allison Brown, an All-SEC Freshman selection last season, will move to third base this year.
Jan. 31, 2013
This is part three of a four-part series previewing the 2013 Ole Miss softball season. Part three focuses on the Rebels’ infield. Part one on the coaches and schedule can be seen here, and part two on the Rebels’ pitching staff can be read here.
OXFORD, Miss. – The Rebels lost 10 letterwinners and four position starters from last season’s 22-32 team, but do return one of the top freshmen in the Southeastern Conference in Allison Brown, who will move to her natural position of third base after playing shortstop as a rookie. Also returning for the Rebels in the infield is first baseman Londen Ladner and catcher Marina Parra.
One of the great new luxuries to the Rebels this season is a word they weren’t familiar with in 2012; depth.
“We really didn’t have anywhere to go last year if any of our infielders got hurt,” Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees said. “We said a lot of prayers last year. This year, the cool thing is, we do have depth. We have young talent, we have kids who we’ve made sure know how to play multiple positions, and I’m excited for it. If something happens and we have to move Browny (Allison Brown) back to shortstop, we have Melina Preciado who can play third base, and we have Marina Parra, who was a third baseman.”
Playing in the hot corner this year, Thees is looking for Brown to build upon her exceptional freshman campaign. After leading the team at the plate with team-highs in RBI (36) and doubles (10) as a freshman, Brown will be in her natural position and was voted by her classmates as the sophomore captain. For Thees, having Brown at third base is something she’s looking forward to seeing.
“She was so great last year,” said Thees of Brown’s play at shortstop. “She was one of, if not the best defensive shortstop in the SEC, which is saying something in our league. She did that because we needed her to. And I will tell everybody, as good of a shortstop as she was last year; she’s an even better third baseman. I look forward to her being over in the hot corner, which gets more balls in our game than anywhere else. If I had to put one person on my team who I wanted to get more balls than anybody else, it would be Allison Brown.”
At first base, Ladner returns as one of the Rebels’ top bats, and in the words of Thees, “is stronger and quicker than she’s ever been since I’ve been here.” Freshman Madi Osias will also be battling for playing time at first base with impressive high school and club credentials.
“Londen is going to probably add a little bit more power numbers to the numbers you’ve seen in the past here, a few more doubles, stretching it out a little bit,” Thees said. “Her glove work at first base last year was pretty good for it being the first time she ever played it, but I think this year you’re really going to see an even better first baseman than we did last year. Londen is that person on our team who can just stay focused, but has perspective in life as well. She gets out there and just wants to win. That’s it. That’s the only thing on her mind is winning.
“I’ve got Madi Osias playing first base with Londen. Madi was a high school top-100 kid in the country. She was a first baseman, pitcher and hitter. She hit over .400 for her high school, broke all kinds of records. We have to find a way to get her into the lineup. It’s a fun problem to have.”
Behind the plate will be Parra, who started the majority of games last season, senior Kelly Nolan and freshman Natalie Martinez. The depth at catcher, similar to the infield as a whole, is abnormal to Thees, but something she obviously welcomes.
“Marina did fantastic last year,” Thees said. “She probably caught too many games, so we’re excited to have Kelly Nolan back, who had her first full fall of her career, and she’s a senior. She’s going to help us out a little bit. And then we have our freshman Natalie Martinez, who probably is my biggest surprise of the entire fall. She was one of our best hitters this fall. She absolutely lit it up in every scrimmage. Offensively, she got in and she hit.”
At shortstop, the Rebels will look to Haley Culley, a 5-foot-7 freshman from Mesa, Ariz., to take over the position in a similar fashion to what Brown did in 2012 as a newcomer. Thees said they are expecting big things from Culley and understand they’re putting a lot on her shoulders, but they believe she can handle it.
“She’s probably the most gifted natural athlete that I’ve ever coached in all my years,” Thees said. “It’s absolutely amazing how the kid moves on the field – she doesn’t know what in the world she’s doing, she’s just doing it, and it is fun to watch.”
The Rebels have Alyssa Invergo and Parra battling for the second base job. While Parra excelled at catcher last season, second base is the junior’s natural position, and is a position she is familiar with.
“Second base is more of Marina’s natural position that we worked her at last year quite a bit, and she even played one or two games over there last year. For us, it’s going to be who’s hitting and who’s a better matchup. We have lefty/righty combos, so maybe we want a righty facing this pitcher and a lefty facing this one because both Haley and Alyssa are lefty hitters.”
After Raven Saunders won her third NCAA shot put title and broke a 33-year-old collegiate record yesterday, she was due for some headlines in the track & field world. Her outgoing personality and flashy demeanor in front of the huge... read more
By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations Student Assistant The 2016 season has been a big one for the Rebels. The 40-16 regular season record was the fourth 40-win regular season in program history. The Rebels went 18-12... read more
By Steven Oubre, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsThis weekend, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi will name former Rebel football player Todd Sandroni their 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. From 1987-1990, Todd Sandroni stalked the football field... read more
By Tate Hawkins, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations In case you missed it, or you've been focused on the winter sports, Ole Miss Baseball is already five weeks into the 2016 season. After an 8-2 win over UT Martin on... read more
By Tate Hawkins, Student Assistant, Ole Miss Athletics Media RelationsYou've seen it all over athletics and campus. From jerseys, hats, helmets, and even to T-shirts that get tossed into the crowd. Fans have clung to this over the past... read more
Who doesn't enjoy seeing their favorite Rebels suit up on Sundays and represent Ole Miss in the National Football League?Well, there are about to be a few more NFL Rebels to watch on TV this fall.The Path to the Draft... read more
With the 2016 Ole Miss Baseball season beginning today at Swayze Field (4 p.m. CT vs. FIU), check out the always much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite?#1 DJ Miller: "Go DJ" by Lil Wayne#2 Ryan Olenek:... read more
The Southeastern Conference today announced Kickoff '16, its annual football media days, will be held July 11-14 at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and selected players (TBA) will visit... read more
Last week, I wrote this story about the 64 school records and numerous program firsts that Hugh Freeze's Ole Miss football team accomplished in 2015.Today let's take a closer look at where the Rebels' season stacked up in the national... read more
Ole Miss Football is one of five programs in the nation to make back-to-back New Year's Six bowl games and will play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1, 2016) for the first time since 1970. The Rebels are the... read more