Marcy Harper (above) won 12 games as a junior.
Auburn, Ala.--Auburn softball pitching coach Corey Myers notes that he is expecting his team’s opening day starter, Marcy Harper, to have a strong senior season.
“We have been in the same spot, three years in a row, where Marcy is going to be our opening day starter and then she is our number one,” Myers says. “Marcy and I have had some long talks about carrying that title deep into the season.
“The work that she has put in, and where she is right now, I truly think she could sustain that title for the whole season for the first time in the three seasons we have been here,” the coach adds.
Harper will throw the first pitch of the season on Thursday shortly after 6 p.m. CST when Appalachian State visits AU’s Jane B. Moore Field. Auburn, returns most of the key players from last season’s 56-11 team, including pitchers Lexi Davis and Rachael Walters, who finished one-two in victories in 2015. Davis posted a 26-3 record while Walters was 18-3 with four saves. Harper finished with a 12-5 record.
Asked what Harper is doing when she is throwing well, Myers says, “She is attacking the hitter. She is not afraid of contact. I think when she starts to doubt herself, when she gives up a couple of home runs or hard hit balls, in the past she started doubting that she would be able to make that pitch. I?don’t know if it is the senior in her thinking, ‘I’ve got nothing to lose,’ but whatever it is this past fall it didn’t seem to bother her.
“She gave up a big hit (in the scrimmage) that was called basically just to see if Emily (Carosone) was going to swing at her pitch,” the coach points out. “There was no fear coming out after that. The next pitch was a strike so I see some evolution to her mindset.”
Myers notes that Harper has a live arm. “Of our five pitchers the only one who comes anywhere close to her movement is Rachael and Rachel is left-handed so that comes by birth, I think.”
Harper notes that she feels good about the way she has been throwing in preseason. “I have been pretty consistent,” she says. “It’s been good, I haven’t had any complaints. I didn’t pitch the way I wanted (in Saturday’s scrimmage), but everybody else told me I did good. I wasn’t as sharp as I wanted it to be. I can’t complain. I only gave up two runs.
“I am just happy my teammates and coaches have the confidence in me to start opening day,” she says. “I am excited. I will be splitting it with Rachael.”
The Tigers put together a strong finish to the season, winning the SEC Tournament, an NCAA regional, an NCAA super regional and two games in the College World Series. Harper liked the way she was throwing late season.
“I think I improved throughout the year last year and ended on a really good note and it has just continued,” she says. “I am starting the way I left off last year. I am really grateful that I am.”