The 2013 University of Kentucky Softball Team had a memorable season with much to build upon for the future. Head Coach Rachel Lawson had her 4th winning season in her six years at UK. Majority of the roster was made up of underclassmen, including eight true freshmen who experienced collegiate softball for the first time ever. With such a young team, and five of the eight freshmen starting, Lawson had her work cut out for her. From that perspective, many may have been surprised when the team ended the season with a 41-21 record. Not only did they finish with a winning season, but they also made their 5th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. That accomplishment made them one of just 23 other schools to claim that honor. The UK Softball team also appeared in the school’s second ever NCAA Super Regional, before falling short to Arizona State to conclude a memorable season.
Following the season, Heach Coach Rachel Lawson stated that, “Overall we had a very good season. We have been very good. This is our fifth straight postseason and we have been to two NCAA Super Regionals. With that said, in order to get to the World Series, your team usually has to figure out how to host and we did that from the beginning of the year on. I think that was a big step for our program and hopefully it will pay off in the future.”
So what’s to come in the future?
Sixteen players from the 2013 roster are set to return and compete in the 2014 season, along with 2014 signee Shannon Smith. Smith will bring experience and talent to Lexington, both on the mound and in the batter’s box. From Milford, MA., Smith was the 2010 and 2012 Gatorade Massachusetts Player of the Year, three-time league MVP and All-Star player by her junior year in high school. Smith had 9 no-hitters, 5 perfect games and 7 one hit games in 2012. Along with many other accomplishments, Shannon Smith was also named Miss Softball by ESPN Boston and Athlete of the Year by Metrowest Daily News.
Lawson on Shannon Smith: “Recruiting Shannon has been a ton of fun because I knew her at the age of 10. To watch such a fun-loving kid turn into an accomplished pitcher is priceless. Shannon not only has an array of pitches, but possesses an outstanding ability to pitch the ball exactly where she wants to when the game is on the line. This pinpoint precision is essential when facing the outstanding line-ups in the SEC.”