Softball Team Should Be Proud

I remember when Steve Spurrier first talked about the Gators finishing 10-2 with a Citrus Bowl win over Penn State in 1997. He said it was a good year, but you couldn't call it a great year because the Gators didn't win any kind of championship.

I agreed with him at the time, but felt differently after the 2001 season when the Gators finished 10-2, losing two games by a total of five points. That was a great year.

The 2010 Gator softball team didn't win any championships, unless you consider taking a Super Regional a championship. But they had a great year. Florida won 49 games, broke at least eight school records and advance to the College World Series for the third year in a row. And they did all that despite having lost Stacey Nelson, the winningest pitcher (136) in school history.

Coach Tim Walton's team outscored its opponents 433-150, that's a margin of almost five runs a game. Florida hit 109 HR on the season while Gator opponents left the yards just 22 times. Five Florida hitters hit 10-plus HR, led by Enea's school record 20 and Brittany Schutte's 19, a new record for a Florida freshman.

The Gators finished the season with a 49-10 record, giving the program a three year mark of 182-20 (.901). It was not only a great year; it's been a great three years.

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The school records Florida set are as follows:

Runs 433
Avg. .331
HR 109
RBI 402
T.B. .936
Slg. .627
Obp. .432
OPS 1.059

*** That's total bases, slugging and on-base percentage. OPS is slugging percentage plus on-base percentage.

All of those numbers are incredible, but to me a slugging percentage over .600 is out of this world.

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Florida will lose just two players off this team, but they are two terrific performers. Francesca Enea leaves with 61 career HR, the most in SEC history. She also has the UF record for RBI (221) total bases (431) and tied the record by getting hit with 32 pitches. Additionally Enea was a total team player and very good left fielder.

Corrie Brooks will leave a large void at third base. She came to Florida as an outfielder and moved to third for her sophomore season. That year (2008) she hit three HR and committed 15 errors. In the last two seasons combined she has hit 21 HR while committing just 10 miscues.

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Florida returns a loaded team for 2011 including a huge senior class. Aja Paculba (.314, 8, 43) Megan Bush (.362, 15, 50), Kelsey Bruder (.367, 16, 49) and Tiffany DeFelice (.319, 9, 36) will be back to head up a lineup that will also include Michelle Moultrie (.389, 4, 29) and Brittany Schutte (.346, 19, 59). Stephanie Brombacher (35-8, 2.01) will also be a senior next season as she tries to build on her first season as the No. 1 pitcher and put those illegal pitch calls behind her.

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Florida's recruiting class is headlined by The Gatorade National Player of the Year, Kasey Fagan. The Dunnellon High School star excels both as a hitter and a pitcher. In the circle, she was 26-1, 0.57 with 239 strikeouts in just 147 innings. At the plate, Fagan ripped 13 doubles, and eight HR while driving in 61 runs. She is considered an outstanding defensive third baseman.


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