June 21, 1999 - by
No. 21 Seminoles Host Mercer in Home Opener

February 18, 1999

The #21 Florida State Lady Seminole Softball team (3-5) will open their home season this Friday, February 19 in a double-header with Mercer (1-4), starting at 3:00pm. NOTE : The FAMU game scheduled for Saturday, February 20 at 1:00pm has been moved. There will be a double-header on April 14th at a time to be announced.

The Lady Seminoles competed in the Arizona State Coke Classic this past weekend, finishing 2-3. Danielle Cox led the starters, batting a .412 with seven hits and four stolen bases. Jen White went around the bases, hitting a double, triple and home run this weekend and had four RBI’s. Becky Wallace hit a three-run homer, her first as a Lady Seminole, and LaTanya Mitchell added two stolen bases. Leslie Malerich pitched three games, had nine strikeouts with an ERA of 3.32. White made two pitching appearances, striking out three batters and walking only four.

Not many question marks when it comes to the Florida State infield as only the catcher position will need to be filled with a new player. For the second straight season, senior Corrie Williams will occupy first base while sophomore Christy Cerecedes will handle the duties at second base. Williams earned All-Southeast Region first team honors after leading the team with 40 RBIs and she ranked second on the team in batting with a .318 average. Junior Becky Wallace and sophomore Kelly Miller will backup Williams at first.

“Last year was a big turnaround year for Corrie,” Graf said. “She got a great deal more playing time, because she was producing and the more playing time she got, the more confident she became in herself. Defensively, our infield has a lot of confidence in her. She’s just a solid player and is very consistent.”

Cerecedes had a solid rookie season as she started all 72 games and was second on the team with 63 hits on her way to earning second team All-Southeast Region accolades. She will be backed-up by freshman Dana Vickery, who will rotate between a couple of positions.

“Christy was the only newcomer to the infield last season and she really stepped up and gained confidence as the season progressed and really had a solid year,” Graf said.

Both shortstop Jesse McGregor and third baseman Tami Post, who both started all 72 games in 1998, will be entering their fourth straight seasons at their respective positions. McGregor earned All-ACC honors and was named to the ACC All-Tournament Team after batting a team-leading .625. Post was as solid as ever defensively at the corner.

“Jesse has improved every year,” Graf said. “Her defense has gotten better and better. She has worked on her range and her arm has become consistent while her hitting has become more disciplined as well.

“Tami is the best defensive player that I’ve seen for a very long time. The biggest thing for Tami is to get her bat turned around. We had to DH for her quite a bit last year, but she has worked very hard over the summer.”

Newcomers Becky Brock and Jackie Hirschfeld will backup McGregor and Post, respectively, and gain experience at the infield positions.

Junior Teresa Edenfield and newcomer Andi Lyons will battle for the starting catcher position. Edenfield proved to be very valuable as a designated hitter last season and has improved defensively. Lyons, a transfer from St. Petersburg Junior College, already has collegiate experience and should improve as she gets more opportunities to get into some game situations. Freshman Kimmy Carter could see some action at catcher as well.

The outfield is more of the same story for Florida State: solid and seniors. Dana Bailey returns for her third season at center while Danielle Cox, a newcomer to the outfield last season, will once again occupy left field. Right field has been pegged the “newcomer spot” by Coach Graf as the position is up for grabs. Newcomers Kimmy Carter, Tanya Mitchell, Felicia Williams and Dana Vickery will all vie for that spot.

Bailey is as aggressive and valuable at the plate as she is in the outfield. A speedy base runner, Bailey not only led the team in stolen bases with 27, but in hits with 69 and a .342 batting average. She had a banner season in 1998, earning All-Southeast Region first team honors as well as All-ACC and ACC All-Tournament Team honors.

“Dana dives for the ball better than any outfielder we have,” Graf said. “She gets a good jump on the ball and reacts quickly and correctly and doesn’t make many mistakes. She’s going to be just dynamic to watch.”

Although a senior, Cox is in only her second year at Florida State, but did not miss a game all of last season. Among the team leaders in hits with 53, Cox also ranked second on the squad with 21 stolen bases. Over the summer, Cox was named a Women’s Major ASA first team All-American and broke 1 22-year batting record at the national tournament, batting .688.

“Danielle put it all together and improved a lot this summer when she broke an ASA batting record,” Graf said. “She gained a lot of confidence and has even improved her speed. She’s very aggressive and ready to run this year.”

“Dana and Danielle give us a tremendous amount of speed at the top of our line up and can really set the table for our three, four and five hitters. If those two can get on base a lot, it is going to be the key to our offense.”

Senior Stacy Venable is one of 16 students-athletes in the ACC to be awarded the 1999 Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship. Each student receives $5,000 toward their postgraduate education. Venable was chosen based on her exceptional performance in the classroom, on the field and in the community. She will continue her education as a full time student after graduation.

The Lady Seminoles will face eight top 25 teams this season: #5 Michigan,#6 South Florida, #8 Nebraska, #10 Massachusetts, #11 DePaul,#20 Florida, #22 Minnesota and #23 Hostra. Other possible top 25 opponents include#4 Washington, #9 LSU, #11 Oklahoma, #14 Stanford and #18 Arizona State at the NFCA Leadoff Classic; #7 Texas, #15 Oklahoma State, #16 Iowa, #19 Alabama and #24 Illinois-Chicago at the USF Speedline Invitational; and #1 Fresno State in the FSU Invitational

Dana Bailey is one steal away from breaking into the record books for career stolen bases. Bailey is 4-4 in stolen bases this year and ranked second last year in the ACC in steals per game average.

Senior Danielle Cox has left her mark on FSU softball history as she became the first Seminole softball player to be selected for the Coca-Cola USA Softball National Team Festival in Fresno, California. Cox is among 50 of the nation’s finest women’s fast pitch softball players, which also includes members of the 1998 World Championship team, chosen to participate in the festival June 8-14. Cox will compete for one of the five remaining spots on the 1999 Softball Women’s National Team, that will compete in the 1999 Pan-American Games. She earned ASA All-American honors this summer and broke the Women’s Major ASA 22-year old batting record with her .688 average at the national tournament.

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