Jan. 8, 2008
The Auburn softball team began preparations for the 2008 season with their first practice of the year Tuesday afternoon at the Jane B. Moore Field.
Auburn head coach Tina Deese, who is entering her 12th season leading the Tigers, was pleased with the first practice of the season.
"There was a lot of enthusiasm out here today," Deese said. "There's a lot of life in this bunch. They came out stroking the ball really well today, their hands were loose and quick. It was a good first day."
The Tigers return 12 letterwinners from last season, including five seniors, four juniors and three sophomores.
Among the returning players are Freshman All-Southeastern Conference pitcher Anna Thompson (Huntsville, Ala.) and junior catcher Tatiana Fernandez (Miami, Fla.).
Thompson posted a 1.72 ERA and finished second in the SEC with 291 strikeouts in 2007. Fernandez is the leading returning hitter for the Tigers after posting a .293 batting average along with six home runs and 24 RBI a season ago.
Vying for playing time with the returning players will be eight freshmen who look to make an impact during their first season with the Tigers.
"There will be a lot of competition for playing time this year," Deese said. "We have a good group of freshmen who will push the returning players and we are excited to see how things take shape."
Auburn opens the 2008 season when it hosts the Tiger Invitational Feb. 15-17. The Tigers host Marshall, McNeese, Gardner Webb, Evansville and Furman for the three-day tournament.