USU softball: Aggies look for a farewell WAC title

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7 2013 1:14 p.m. MST

Miller started 41 games behind home for the Aggies and saw action in 45 games in various roles throughout the 2012 season.

Backing up Miller will be junior transfer Kelsie Webster and freshman Kirstyn Namba.

Pitchers

Returning to the circle will be a tandem of seniors for the Aggies. Senior Mandy Harmon and Shelbi Tyteca will anchor the staff this season.

Harmon has proven more than capable to handle the work load of a starting pitcher, tossing 371.1 inning in her career at Utah State. Harmon has also forced 265 stikeouts by her opponent in her three seasons with USU.

Tyteca continues to be a valuable late-game asset for the Aggies as the senior currently hold the all-time saves record with nine. Tyteca earned five saves last season, which is also a single-season record held by the senior. Tyteca looks to close out games for Utah State.

Adding depth to the staff will be sophomore Mariah Peterson, who worked 9.1 innings of action last season.

Also bringing a new and upcoming talent to the pitching staff will be freshman Noelle Johnson who continues to challenge for time in the circle.

Newcomers

Utah State infused its roster with seven newcomers for the 2013 season, including one transfer, Becca Walker who last played at Fresno State, and two junior college transfers, Racheal Hunsaker from Snow College and Kelsie Webster who played last season at College of Southern Idaho. The three juniors will bring depth and stability to the USU lineup.

Walker will step in and take the starting short stop position, while Hunsaker will provide depth to the Aggie outfielding core. Webster is an experienced catcher who will backup starter Samantha Miller behind home.

Utah State also bolstered its roster with four incoming freshmen.

Freshman infielder/pitcher Sarah Chow has been competing all fall for a starting position in the field and has proven to be extremely athletic.

Freshman pitcher Noelle Johnson brings a fresh dynamic to the pitching staff and will fight for time in the circle.

Fresh from the tropical island of Hawaii, freshman catcher Kirstyn Namba has proven more than capable behind the plate, as well as showing talent in the outfield. Namba could see action in several position this season.

Rounding out the incoming freshmen class is power-hitter Libby Pederson. She has serious pop in her bat and will see valuable at-bats at a designated player.

“Without a shadow of a doubt the newcomers athleticism has pushed some of the returning players. As a coach, you want to bring in talent that is going to shake the cage. A lot of people say that the freshman on a team set the tone because that competitive nature makes everybody work a little bit harder. We have several players who are new to the program with unbelievable work ethic. They never stop and they go the extra mile to be the best they can possibly be. They have come in and pushed the players who are in front of them,” Kalaba said.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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