After a shocking early exit in the playoffs in 2022, the Florida State Seminoles softball will focus on a new team for 2023. Let’s take a look at what they will lose and who will come in and compete for a roster spot, class by class.
Starting with the Super Seniors, FSU returns a good group of veterans. Returning from injury is Bethaney Keen, who in 2022 saw limited action before an ankle injury ended her season. She played 13 games, with 10 starts. Keen held first base defensively and on the offensive end, she went 5 for 18, which gave her a .278 batting average. Keen capitalized on RBI opportunities by making 6 runs during his season.
Shortstop Josie Muffley, who shared time with rookie Brooke Blankenship, will return to the diamond in 2023 for the ‘Noles. Since splitting his time with Blankenship, Muffley could be in contention for the third base spot vacated by Sydney Sherrill. During her time as ‘Nole, she made a name for herself on the defensive end. With bat, Muffley had 38 starts, while seeing 47 games overall. At the bottom of the lineup, she batted .267 with 8 total RBIs. On the basespaths, she was 6 for 7 in stolen bases.
After being traded from Illinois State as a two-way player, Mack Leonard saw herself primarily at first base in 2022. Starting the season as a Designated Player, Leonard transitioned into a defensive position a time Keen came out. However, his place in the line-up has hardly changed. Leonard hasn’t beaten less than 6th all season, providing power at the top of the order. Of her 60 starts, she finished the season leading the team in batting average with a .375. She also tops the charts in several other offensive categories.
Although she sat as a redshirt in 2022, transfer Ali DuBois is expected to make an appearance as a Seminole in 2023. The Boston University transfer left the Terrier program as one of the best no only in Boston, but in the Patriot League. The three-time league pitcher of the year led BU to three regular season and conference tournament titles. In her four years, she posted a 1.52 ERA, an 85-26 win/loss, 141 appearances, 30 shutouts, 686.1 innings pitched, 189 walks, 647 strikeouts, 30 homers and has held the batters to .200.
Kathryn Sandercock is also back for her final season in Garnet and Gold. Since her debut season in 2019, Sandercock has made an impact in the circle. Last season, she led the charge as the ace on the pitching staff. With 44 appearances, she had only three defeats on the season for 30 wins. Her 1.44 ERA is tied for first on the team as she pitched 194.1 innings with 159 strikeouts.
With Keen back and healthy, she is expected to return to first base. Offensively, she could sit in the middle of the batting order, just like she did last season.
Leonard will most likely remain as a relief pitcher, just like she did in 2022. She has seen limited time in 2022, making a handful of starts in the circle but mostly late innings. She could get more looks in the circle if she stays on the Designated Players list, giving her more time to prepare in the bullpen during a game. The DP spot for Leonard could further strengthen the roster as last season several players filled that role.
With Sherrill now graduated, Muffley could be considered for the third baseman spot. However, she could stay at shortstop and keep that position unchanged. Keeping Muffley short would mean changing just one stance, rather than two and the possible growing pains that might come with that move. In the lineup, Muffley will remain in the bottom of the command, possibly 9th place. This position will allow him to flip the lineout and move runners on base.
DuBois will see games live for the first time since the 2021 season. She was Boston’s coaching ace and could throw the second punch next to Kathryn Sandercock. Working primarily as a pitcher at bat, DuBois can last long innings and go the distance when needed. Since BU made several trips to regionals during DuBois’ time, they have plenty of playoff experience that can help this team as they look for a long run.
Returning for her final season, Sandercock is set to pick up where she left off as a staff ace. With more pitchers on staff over the coming season, this will lighten Sandercock’s load for 2023. As seen last season, she can come in as relief if needed and work ground balls to keep the ball in the yard and runners off the bases.