The Gator Softball team is just a day away from their 2017 season opener in Tampa . The team is certain to be a major threat on the mound this year, with four star pitchers leading the way.
Delanie Gourley and Aleshia Ocasio
Head coach Tim Walton said that one of the most promising things about the team this year is the threat each of the pitchers posses. This year there are a lot of expectations not only for the team, but also for the upperclassmen pitchers. Delanie Gourley and Aleshia Ocasio are both coming into the 2017 season with outstanding numbers from last year. After an early upset to the Georgia Bulldogs in the NCAA Tournament to end their season however, the two have a lot to prove.
Coming in, right-handed pitcher Ocasio leads the the way with a 0.77 ERA. Ocasio’s ERA ranks first in the SEC and second in the NCAA. Gourley is not far behind, ranking third in the nation and second in the SEC with an ERA of 0.80. The two alone are a force to be reckoned with. However, Walton says that today’s game has evolved into using more than one pitcher.
— Gators Softball (@GatorsSB) February 2, 2017
Kelly Barnhill and Katie Chronister
The two underclassmen pitchers are coming in with a lot of experience. Sophomore Kelly Barnhill has already started 24 games in her young college career. Barnhill also finished the season with 167 strikeouts.
Freshman Katie Chronister will have three strong role models in Gourley, Ocasio, and Barnhill to learn from. The Gainesville native is a left-handed pitcher that led Gainesville High School to their first ever FHSAA State Tournament appearance in Class 6A. Chronister finished her high school career with 725 strikeouts.
The Gators begin their season tomorrow at USF in a weekend tournament. The team will take on Illinois State on Friday, St. Johns and Michigan on Saturday, and Delaware and USF on Sunday.