ISU softball one of NCAA's top offenses
POCATELLO — If there was a phrase that describes the 2013 season for the Idaho State University softball team it would have to be record breaking.
The Bengals rewrote the softball record books during the season and stamped their mark in Big Sky Conference history.
The NCAA released its season ending statistics a few weeks back and for the first time in program history, the Bengals finished in the top 50 in seven different offensive categories.
Led by senior Amanda Fitzsimmons and Big Sky Player of the Year Vicky Galasso the bengals finished fifth in slugging percentage with a .552, seventh in home runs per game at 1.50 and eight in the nation in batting average hitting a remarkable .329.
The team was 12th in the nation in scoring averaging 6.46 runs per game. They were 20th in double plays per game, 28th in triples per game and 45th in doubles per game.
As far as Idaho State records the Bengals set the school record for wins with 29, set the school record for home runs in a season with 78, RBI with 315 and stolen bases with 59.
When ISU head coach Julie Wright was asked earlier in the season if she was surprised with the teams offensive out put, the response was simple, "As a coach you can never expect this kind of offensive success, but the kids worked so hard during the offseason it is not surprising that things ended up the way they did."
Wright who took over the program three seasons ago when it had just seven players. She has used her three season to bring in the recruits that have sculpted the how the team will look for the future.
"I have recruited the perfect mix of power and speed," Wright said. "The lineup I had this year is extremely tough on pitchers. Our 1-6 hitters are as good as they come and 7,8,9 are pretty good too."
The lineup that Wright put on the field every day gave opposing pitchers fits and ranked as one of the best offenses in the nation.
Wright will have to replace one of the top hitters on the team as Fitzsimmons has graduated.
The senior from Auburn, Wash., ranked in the top 12 in the nation in five different offensive categories.
She set the ISU single season home run record with 20, which was good enough for 10th in the country.
Fitzsimmons was fourth in the country in runs per game scoring an average of 1.16 per contest. She was 12th in slugging percentage at .837 and hit by pitch per game at .40, she was hit 20 times during the season.
The 2013 Idaho State softball team exploded onto the college softball scene this season and made Miller Ranch Stadium a place to be.
Wright and her coaching staff must now find a way to continue that success laid down by this year's team.
It will be extremely tough to have another season where eight members of the team were named to the All-Big Sky team, but Wright knows the future for ISU softball is extremely bright.
“We have opened doors for individuals and teams that will play here next year and 50-years from now,” Fitzsimmons said. “Coach (Wright) said we were going to be the team to make opportunities for this program and looking back on the season we did just that.”
“I can't diminish anything this club has put together,” Wright said. “They are amazing women and I was kind of along for the ride. I am honored to be their coach. I am so proud of them.”
NCAA Team Statistics
Slugging Percentage: 5th, .552
Home Runs per game: 7th, 1.50
Batting Average: 8th, .329
Scoring: 12th, 6.46
Double Plays per game: 20th, .42
Triples Per Game: 28th, .25
Doubles Per Game: 45th, 1.35
Stolen Bases Per Game: 77th, 1.13
Bengals in the Individual Final NCAA Statistics
6th, Slugging Percentage, .876
7th, Batting Average, .461
10th, RBI Per Game, 1.15
15th, Home Runs Per Game, .35
17th, Home Runs, 18
18th, Runs Per Game, 1.04
49th, On Base Percentage, .500
4th, Runs Per Game, 1.16
7th, Home Runs Per Game, .40
10th, Home Runs, 20
12th, Slugging Percentage, .837
12th, Hit by Pitch Per Game, .40
31st, On Base Percentage, .518
46th, Runs Per Game, .92