The Coastal Carolina softball team looks to make postseason run as the team prepares for the 2018 season.
The team went 32-23 last season and 11-16 in Sun Belt play, getting knocked out early in the Sun Belt Tournament.
Kelley Green enters her ninth season as head coach of Coastal softball and is looking to build off of last season.
“We want to continue to improve and continue to build,” said Green. “We had a good first half of the season last year but, once we got into conference play, we struggled. After being in the Sun Belt Conference for a year now, we know we have to step up our game.”
One of the biggest struggles that the Chanticleers faced last season was winning on the road, especially in conference play. The Chanticleers went 1-11 in Sun Belt road games.
Green talked about the road struggles were fairly new to her as a coach and what she wants to see be improved by her team.
“We never really had that issue before until last year,” said Green. “We mainly had Sun Belt road games last season, so I am hoping that going on the road to play Arizona State in that tournament will be a very tough tournament for us and gives us some experience before we hit Sun Belt play.”
Graduate Student and catcher Amanda Daneker missed 15 games last season due to injury but is looking forward to return to the diamond in February.
“It was a bit of a letdown that I couldn’t finish it out but I am ready to go,” said Daneker. "I am excited to get back out there."
Even though Daneker missed nearly 30 percent of the 2017 season, she managed to be fourth on the team in slugging average (.429) and third on the team in home runs (5).
After a phenomenal freshman year, catcher Kassidy Smith will be looking to continue to be a formidable force at the plate. Smith led the team in home runs (11) and was second on the team in Runs Batted In (RBI) with 31 and second in slugging average (.534).
Green talked about having Smith back for another year.
“Kassidy has tremendous power, and I think you will see her hit a little better average this year,” said Green. “She is quite productive in our lineup, and she is going to get better every year that she is here. I think she will hit more than eleven home runs this year. I think she will have a better batting average this year, and I think that she will be even more productive this year than how she was as a freshman.”
Another returning starter for the Chanticleers is junior pitcher Ashley Guillette.
Last season, Guillette posted a 13-10 record while pitching 186 strikeouts, the fourth-highest number of strikeouts in a single season by a Coastal Carolina pitcher. Guillette has already thrown 325 strikeouts in her career, putting her at eighth on the all-time strikeout list.
Green discussed what it meant to have Guillette return for her junior season.
“She keeps us in ball games and has the ability to dominate a ball game,” said Green. “We will definitely will be looking to her to continue bettering her self and winning those big games for us. She can take control of the game at any given moment.”
On Aug. 1, 2017, the softball program added Danielle Penner as an assistant head coach.
Penner talked about the youth that is on the team and what she is looking forward to see play out on the diamond this season.
“This year, it really is in the air,” said Penner. “There is a lot talent out here on this team and there is a lot of depth. In my perspective, I think that puts us in a better position. While injuries are a part of every game, the beauty of us is that we have a lot of players that can step up and play their positions efficiently.”
The softball team opens up their season on Friday, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m. against Iowa State.