Previewing @Towson_SB: Pitching
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 02/02/2013
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TOWSON, Md. - Two All-Colonial Athletic Association selections return to lead the Towson softball into the 2013 season after a 25-30 season that saw the Tigers fall just short of the CAA Tournament. With an 8-13 conference record, the Tigers finished just a half game shy of their fifth consecutive CAA Tournament appearance in 2012. However, record-setting senior pitcher Katie Lingmai and sophomore shortstop Hailey Balk, an All-Rookie Team pick, headline a group of nine returning letter-winners, including six starters, for the 2013 season.

"We consider last year as just a blip on the radar," Towson head coach Lisa Costello said. "I think we can have an offense that can carry us and I expect us to challenge for the conference tournament this season."

With a young roster that also includes nine newcomers, Costello and the Towson coaching staff have spent a considerable amount of time going back to the basics and preaching fundamentals while focusing on instruction.

"That's what I love to do," Costello said of spending time with instruction. "These  young kids have such a desire to do well and their work ethic is through the roof. We are very athletic and very versatile."

In the circle is where the Tigers shine, as the team returns Lingmai and sophomore Missy McCormick to a pitching staff that could also include freshman Ambar Hickman. Lingmai is in the midst of a historic career for Towson and should look to build on a junior season which saw her set the single-season Tiger strikeout record and also move into fi rst place on the school's all-time strikeout list.  Her final statistics included a 13-14 record with a 2.40 earned run average, 23 complete games and five shutouts.

She became the fi rst pitcher in school history to record 200 strikeouts in a single season with 203 in 192.2 innings pitched. In addition, Lingmai moved into sole possession of first place on the Towson all- time strikeout list with 524. A strong worker in the weightroom, Lingmai has drawn raves for her work ethic and production.

"Katie is a quiet leader, but she's one of our strongest kids in the weight room and that shows how hard she works to improve. Everytime she has a ball in her hand she is thinking to get better. She's ultra-competitive and she's accountable. The other girls realize that."

McCormick adds another flame-thrower to the mix and was a valuable pitcher for the staff last season as a freshman. McCormick threw 94.0 innings and posted a respectable 6-8 record with a 3.50 earned run average. The team will count on McCormick, who threw seven complete games and two shutouts, to take a big step forward in the rotation.

"Missy learned a lot from last year," the longtime Towson coach said. "She has a lot of talent and now it's about being more of a pitcher and less of a thrower. Our kids need to understand that your day is defined not by the best pitch that you throw on a given day, but by the worst pitch you throw. You can be lights out all game, but if you throw one bad pitch and it ends up in the parking lot and you lose, it doesn't matter that you threw 120 great pitches."

The team is also hopeful the talented freshman Hickman can provide depth to the staff. She has tremendous athleticism and has the potential to strikeout batters early in her career.


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