A10 Softball Blog

An Atlantic 10 Conference Softball Fan Blog written from a fan's perspective. It is not affiliated with the conference or any of the teams.

Friday, February 5, 2016

2016 Preview: Dayton

Dayton had its best season in program history in 2015 and the Flyers are back for more in 2016. Dayton has a great shot at winning its first ever Atlantic 10 title.
Manda Cash (photo by Thom Kendall)

Pitching: Just like Fordham, Dayton is led by a stellar southpaw in Manda Cash. Cash burst on to the scene in 2015 and put up the best numbers in the Atlantic 10. Cash went 13-2 with a 1.49 ERA and 167 SO in 122.1 innings. Cash should carry an even bigger work load in 2016 and Dayton will go as far as she can take them. While Kayla English has graduated, the good news is that Gabrielle Snyder is back. Snyder went 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA and 52 SO in 93.1 innings. Snyder should figure to have an even bigger role this season. Coach Cara LaPlaca is also bolstered by the return of Emily Froment who missed all of 2015 due to injury. If Froment can return to her all-Rookie form from 2013, Dayton is going to be in great shape. Freshman Jessica Gillam also figures to see some big innings. Dayton's depth in the circle may be their biggest strength in 2016.

Offense: Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Tiffany Ricks and her huge bat are gone, leaving a big hole in the Flyers' lineup. In addition, Natalie Mariano and Jordan Jennings have also graduated. Gabrielle Snyder leads the way for the Flyers after hitting .396 with 65 hits, 2 HR, and 37 RBI. Kailee Budicin and Hannah DeSalvo are also back after solid seasons, which saw them each hit .297. The Flyers will need someone to step up and provide some power at the plate, as Dayton lost 24 of its 30 HR from last season.

Catching: Kathy Hess returns behind the dish and she should be a key player for Dayton once again. In 2015, Hess hit .279 with 10 RBI. She also did a nice job defensively, as she threw out 9 would be base stealers. Kyle Davidson, Kailee Budicin, and Kelly Fitzgerald could also see some time behind the plate.

Newcomers: Coach LaPlaca has a talented group of freshmen in 2016. Madi Maloof is the sister of former All-Conference performer Kathleen Maloof and could see some time in the outfield for Dayton. Aspyn Novak, Kayla Laquiere, and Jessica Gillam figure to see key playing time as well.

Schedule: Dayton's schedule starts off easy, but then gets quite difficult as they will face Chattanooga, Tennessee, Louisville, Michigan, and Ohio State in nonconference play. The Flyers may have the best conference schedule, as they will get Fordham, St. Louis, and St. Joseph's at home.

Outlook: Dayton has the pitching and the schedule to get them to the NCAA tournament, but the Flyers success will come down to how well they hit.

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