Despite the short season and absence of SEC matchups, the Lady Vols softball team managed to finish 14-9 overall, competing in the Kajikawa Classic, the Puerto Vallarata College Challenge, the Tampa Tournament, the ETSU Tournament and the Tennessee Invitational.
Here's how Tennessee graded over the season.
By the end of the season, Chelsea Seggern and Ally Shipman led the Lady Vols in batting average, both finishing with .403.
While things started off a little slow for Seggern, tallying four hits in the first five games, the senior from Texas quickly found her rhythm against California Baptist. Seggern had a hit in almost every game afterwards, tallying four against FIU.
Shipman remained consistent throughout the season, averaging one to two hits at bat per game. She had her best game against Stanford, where she went 4-4, helping Tennessee claim the victory.
Amanda Ayala wasn’t far behind Seggern and Shipman, averaging .386. Ayala had at least one hit at the plate in the first five matchups of the season, tallying three within the first game against Northwestern.
The Lady Vols relied primarily on Callie Turner and Samantha Bender on the mound this season, occasionally implementing Anna Hazlewood and Kiki Milloy.
Turner had only a 2.67 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. Turner’s earned her most strikeouts in a game with ten against Colorado State, followed by an impressive eight against North Carolina.
Bender had a 2.83 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. Bender’s highest number of strikeouts was four against ETSU. She tallied three against FIU and Bowling Green.
Co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly led the Lady Vols to a winning season despite it being cut short. After coming to Tennessee in 2002, the Weeklys have led the Lady Vols to seven Women’s College World Series, the last appearance being in 2015. With a stolen season, one can only look forward to what the Weeklys have in store for 2021.
The Lady Vols coaching staff added one more to the roster, with the addition of Marc Weekly, Ralph and Karen Weekly’s son, for the 2019-2020 season. Marc joined the Tennessee staff as a Volunteer Assistant coach after founding and serving as the head coach at King’s Academy softball program in 2014. During his time at King’s, his teams won three state titles.
Regrettably, Lady Vols’ fans and players will only have to guess about what the rest of the season would have held for Lady Vols softball.
Tennessee managed to start their season off strong, and despite some hiccups, they finished that way too. The Lady Vols won four out five games in the Kajikawa Classic and the Tennessee Invitational.
Tennessee came back to beat ETSU twice (10-1, 10-2) in the Tennessee Invitational after falling short to the Buccaneers (3-4) in the ETSU Tournament. They also redeemed themselves against Stanford after a tough (2-7) loss, coming back to win the next game (5-0).
The Lady Vols played much better at home, going 6-2 in Knoxville and 1-3 on the road.
Tennessee fans can now look forward to the exciting things the Lady Vols will bring to the table next season as they prepare to come back from this tragedy.