Softball travels to Hawaii to open season

Posted on Feb 6 2013 - 7:00am by Lacey Russell

The Ole Miss softball team will look to build from last season as it kicks off its season this weekend in Honolulu in the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic.


After a season of improvement, the Ole Miss softball team looks to take the next step under head coach Windy Thees, who is in her second season with the Lady Rebels.

Ole Miss went 22-32 last year. But this season, Thees is looking for more, and the Lady Rebels will start that journey Thursday when they kick off their season in the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic in Honolulu.

“We return some great bats, and I’m excited to surprise some people this year,” Thees said. “Our plan this year is to make the NCAA tournament.”

Senior pitcher Erinn Jayjohn has the most innings pitched among Ole Miss returners with 89.1, and sophomore Lauren Lindsey is second, having recorded 17.2 innings last season.

However, two junior transfers join Jayjohn and Lindsey in the circle. Shelby Jo Fenter of West Memphis, Ark., transferred from Volunteer State Community College where she posted a 24-4 record last season, pitching 164.1 innings and striking out 330 batters.

Carly Hummel pitched under Thees at the University of Memphis before following her to Ole Miss. Hummel set multiple Memphis career records her two years there, notching career lows in ERA (1.60) and opponent batting average (.146) and career highs in strikeouts per seven innings (8.22), shutouts (13) and strikeouts (406).

All-SEC freshman selection last season Allison Brown leads the returning Rebel infield, which lost two starters from last year. This means Brown can move over to her natural position of third base after playing her rookie season at shortstop.

“She had a great freshman year at shortstop, but she’s always been comfortable at third base,” Thees said. “She’s excited to be back there at the hot corner.”

Ole Miss also returns junior first baseman Londen Ladner and senior catcher Marina Parra. Ladner averaged .321 at the plate, which was second on the team, and was first on the team with six home runs.

The most notable returnee, junior RT Cantillo, is found in the outfield. The Preseason All-SEC selection is coming off a stellar sophomore campaign until she broke her hand with 12 games remaining. Cantillo led the Rebels on offense batting .374 and with 33 runs.

“She’s just a very patient player, very patient at the plate,” Thees said. “She makes pitchers throw a lot of pitches. She’s a calming factor for this team.”

Senior Brittany Broome is the second outfield returner for the Rebels. Broome started in left field the past two seasons and was second on the team with 30 runs scored. She was also third on the team with a .291 batting average.

The Rebels will travel from one side of the country to the other throughout this season, playing some stiff competition. After Hawaii, Ole Miss returns home to play LSU in a rare nonconference matchup with the Tigers.

The LSU game is a part of the Geaux Play program designed to help mentally and physically disabled children become physically active.

Fans are asked to donate new or gently used sporting equipment to boxes located at the Gillom Sports Center and the main entrance of the Athletics Administration Building on campus.

The Mardi Gras Invitational, the Red and Blue Classic and the UCF/Holiday Inn Select Spring Fling will round out the rest of the nonconference portion of Lady Rebels’ schedule.

Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic

Ole Miss opens its season with a pair of games on Thursday in Honolulu. The Rebels face off against Saint Mary’s at 5 p.m. then will battle No. 25 Hawaii that night at 10 p.m.

The next day does not get any easier. The Rebels start off with UAB at 3 p.m. before taking on No. 16 Washington. Ole Miss will play two more on Saturday, but those games are to be announced.

“It’s great to start out in such a great tournament,” Thees said. “For us, it’s going to be a great challenge. I’m excited to start off with such great competition and show where we are at.”

For continuing coverage of Ole Miss softball, follow @thedm_sports on Twitter.