Coley Birchfield, Correspondent
JSU softball began their 2022 season last weekend at the ULM Best on the Bayou tournament. The Gamecocks ended the weekend with a 3-2 record, ending the weekend with two straight victories over Morehead State and Mississippi Valley State.
The Gamecocks also defeated Southern, 11-0, to begin the tournament. Before dropping back-to back-games versus Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Stephen F. Austin.
Offensive production was not a limitation for the Jax State squad who averages 7.2 runs per game. Infielder Brantley Bonds, a Wallace State Community College transfer, batted an impressive .588 which included 3 home runs and 12 RBIs. Bonds was voted the 2021 Alabama Community College Conference’s Player of the Year
Bonds is one of three transfers for head coach Jana McGinnis’s squad. Infielders Camryn McLemore and Holly Stewart both transferred from South Alabama. McLemore is the most contributable of the pair, starting in four of the five ULM games, with a .500 batting average and compiling a perfect fielding percentage.
One area of focus during the off-season was replacing the production of All-OVC pitcher Nicole Rodriguez, who earned a 2.42 ERA last season. Freshmen Kat Carter and Sarah Currie answered the call, both pitching complete games on Sunday. Carter took the mound for the four-hit shutout of Morehead State, and Currie pitched a two earned-run effort against MVSU.
2022 will begin a season of transition for Jana McGinnis and her Gamecocks. JSU returns to competition within the Atlantic-Sun Conference for the first time since 1996. The Gamecocks will renew a rivalry against in-state, North Alabama, as well as their regional rivalry with Kennesaw State and others.
JSU will travel this weekend to Hattiesburg, Mississippi for a tournament hosted by Southern Miss. Jax State will play games against the host, as well as, Houston Baptist and UL-Monroe.