Softball Season Preview: Infield 2012 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.”
In Thursday night's 61-58 loss at Kansas State, senior guard Marshall Henderson was 4-for-18, including 2-for-13 from 3-point range, and finished with 13 points. Three days later, Henderson responded with a career-high 39 points and school-record 10 3-pointers in a... read more
Ole Miss fell 17-10 in overtime to intrastate rival Mississippi State, but the Rebels' one score provided a special moment for two of the team's unsung players. Down 7-0 with 31 seconds left in the first half, Ole Miss called... read more
Ole Miss sent seniors Kellie Goss and Kara Morgan out with a win as the Rebels topped LSU 3-2 on Senior Night. "It was a great win," head coach Joe Getzin said. "We tweaked the lineup, and one of our... read more
One of the core values for the Ole Miss football program is mental toughness. With a rivalry game in a hostile environment, it will carry a greater importance. "You're going into a hostile environment, and that's the biggest thing," offensive... read more
The Egg Bowl returns to Thanksgiving night for the first time since 2003, which is also the last time Ole Miss won in Starkville. Thursday's game is the 110th meeting of one of the nation's most-played rivalries and the 86th... read more
Ole Miss had its four-game winning streak snapped with a 24-10 loss to No. 8 Missouri on Saturday night. The 24th-ranked Rebels now face a quick turnaround as they travel to face intrastate rival Mississippi State on Thursday night in... read more
Head coach Hugh Freeze meets with members of the media following Wednesday's practice.Ole Miss is the only school in the upper half of the SEC statistical rankings in every major offensive and defensive category. This week, the Rebels face one... read more
Photo Gallery Courtney Cunningham is a builder. While playing volleyball for Ole Miss from 2009-11, Cunningham helped build the Rebels into an NCAA Tournament team while also earning her civil engineering degree. From that degree, Cunningham is helping build... read more
There's a different air surrounding this week's primetime showdown with No. 8 Missouri, the Rebels' first top-10 test since a 27-24 win over then-No. 6 LSU back on Oct. 19. "It's a huge week for us," junior quarterback Bo Wallace... read more
Freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught a short pass from junior quarterback Bo Wallace, made six Troy defenders miss and dove into the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown. It was the start of a historic day for the Ole... read more
Ole Miss won its second ever NCAA Tournament game and set a school record for wins in a season with 16, as seven different Rebels scored in a 9-0 win over Jackson State Friday night. No. 22-ranked Ole Miss (16-5-2)... read more
Tony Dungy, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, visited campus Wednesday. He spent time with head coach Hugh Freeze, spoke to the team and signed the equipment room Wall of Fame. "He's one of... read more
Ole Miss is bowl eligible for the second straight year under head coach Hugh Freeze after a 34-24 win over Arkansas this past Saturday. The Rebels are also 6-3 for the first time since 2009, when the started 8-3 before... read more
After Ole Miss took a 20-10 lead into halftime, the momentum swung in favor of Arkansas after an interception, a touchdown-scoring drive and a defensive three-and-out to start the third quarter. Now leading 20-17, senior quarterback Barry Brunetti converted a... read more