Countdown to Opening Day: Outfield Preview
Feb. 6, 2013
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State softball team opens play tomorrow afternoon against Stephen F. Austin, and the position group with the most intriguing possibilities would have to be the outfield. With sophomore Dani Gilmore firmly planted in center, the variety of talent with the other outfielders allows the Beavers to match up in many different ways.
With Gilmore, the Beavers have a player coming off one of the best freshman seasons in school history. Her .322 batting average was second on the team and she led the Beavers in home runs (9), runs (48) and stolen bases (17). The 48 runs are third in school history for a single season while the 17 stolen bases are second. She was a Pac-12 All-Freshman selection as well as a conference Honorable Mention team member.
“Dani has grown tremendously since her freshman year,” head coach Laura Berg said. “I see a big year again from her. She can not only lead in center field but she can change the game with one swing of the bat.”
In the other two spots, it looks like four different Beavers will serve important roles. A trio of seniors – Maggie Doremus, Ashley Sanchez and Lea Cavestany – will man left field while Doremus and junior Hannah Bouska will play right.
We’re putting a bunch of people in and out,” Berg said. “We’ve got a lot of options, which is great. We’ve definitely got some depth in those spots.”
Doremus was used primarily as a pinch runner in 2012, scoring 10 runs and stealing a couple of bases. A natural right-handed hitter, she’s been transformed into a slapper.
“Maggie’s done a tremendous job of turning to the left side,” Berg said. “She doesn’t quite have the power of the others but she finds a way to get on base.
“Whether it’s a walk or hit by pitch or soft roller, she will make things happen.”
Sanchez returns for her fifth year after redshirting last season. A pesky hitter, she also has the ability to get on base on present difficulties for opposing pitching staffs and defenses.
“She’s worked a lot on her run and slap game. She’s got all three tools. She has good speed, watching her put the ball in play is going to be fun to watch.”
Cavestany is the most versatile of the bunch, and that could land her some playing time in the infield. She’s put in work at third base and in the outfield. Whatever her field position, her bat can fit into the lineup. Last year, she hit five homers while driving in 32 runs. Her .401 slugging percentage was fifth on the team.
“This is the hardest I’ve seen her work,” Berg said. “She’s versatile. It’s just going to depend on what we need at the time.”
Bouska hit .287 last season and led the team with 12 sacrifice bunts. She also was second on the team in stolen bases with 14 in 15 attempts. While she can make things happen on offense, she also was described by Berg as having a cannon arm from right field. It’s her total package that should earn her playing time this season.
“She can hit for power and put one over the fence, or she can drop a bunt five feet out in front,” Berg said. “She is going to do some big things.”
Tomorrow’s Opening Day matchup with the LadyJacks begins at 4:00 p.m. PST.