Texan Softball has big aspirations for final Division II season

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Over the last two seasons, there hasn’t been a single team in the Lone Star Conference with more wins than Tarleton. In fact, Tarleton’s 90 wins over the last two years are among the most of any team in the nation.

So, it’s safe to say that head coach Mark Cumpian has been nothing short of an instant success after just three years at the helm of the program.

Tarleton is coming off its second straight 40-win season and third consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason under Cumpian. With returning All-Americans Georgia Capell and Jordan Withrow leading the way, Tarleton fully anticipates to make the most of its final season competing in NCAA Division II. Tarleton will begin its transition to NCAA Division I and the Western Athletic Conference next year.

“My expectations for this year’s team is the same as it has been over the last three seasons – be at the top of the conference and find a way to make a playoff run,” said Cumpian. “Honestly, I don’t know that my expectations will ever be anything less than that – even as we move into NCAA Division I. We have had some very successful teams over the last couple of years and this team is no different as I expect them to be very hungry going into the final Division II season.

“We are excited about making the transition to Division I,” he added. “It will give us the opportunity to build over the next couple of years to eventually compete for championships in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference). It will also give us better coverage around the nation and give us the opportunity to play teams we would never be able to play at the Division II level.”

Tarleton returns 11 letterwinners from last year’s 40-15 squad, including All-Americans and All-LSC First Team selections Capell and Withrow. The Texans also return another All-LSC First Team honoree, Destiny Crumpley, and All-LSC Third Team selection, Morgan Ling. Withrow also returns as the back-to-back LSC Academic Player of the Year.

“We have a good core of returners back this season to help us make one final playoff D2 push,” said Cumpian. “Capell and Crumpley should give us the power we need to push runs when we need them. Both of them had a very good fall season and I am excited to see what they bring to the table this year. Withrow in the circle keeps us in the mix to make a splash at a conference championship and Tristan Bridges and Julia Wernet had outstanding falls for us so I am expecting both of them to give us plenty of innings provide quality innings. All three have worked very hard in the circle for us this fall and I can see them being one of the best staffs in the conference.

Capell, a two-time All-American, is set to begin her junior season with the Texans after hitting .387 with 18 home runs and a school-record 68 RBI as a sophomore. She earned All-America honors from the NFCA for the second straight season and was the first player named All-America by the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA). She also became the first player in program history to reach the Top 25 of the Schutt Sports/NFCA Player of the Year Top 25 Watch List.

Withrow, who became the school’s all-time strikeout leader during her junior season, is set to close out her illustrious career. She went 22-5 in her 2019 campaign with a 1.81 ERA in 189.0 innings of work, which earned her All-America honors with Fastpitch News.

Returning All-Conference selections Destiny Crumpley and Morgan Ling are coming off seasons of hitting .318 and .283, respectively, as the designated player and starting catcher.

“Morgan Ling will be shifted back to the infield after catching for us last season while Kadyn Kirkpatrick and Jessica Lee give us the experience we need in out outfield,” Cumpian added. “All three of these young ladies should have a big impact on our season and I expect them to step up and give us the production we need offensively. Miranda Pruitt and Maddie Goin are both healthy this season after suffering season ending injuries last season and I expect both have huge roles for us this season.”

In addition to returning redshirt athletes Goin and Pruitt, Tarleton added nine newcomers to the mix for 2020.

“I’m excited about the newcomers we have added,” said Cumpian. “We have a mix of four transfers and five freshman that should give us the depth we need.

“Hallie Saintignan gives us some speed in the outfield and on the bases. I’m so glad she is with us after spending two years at Southern Arkansas. Morgan Medford and Shelby Carter both should start for us as true freshmen after really strong fall seasons. They are proving to be some of the best freshmen I have seen here at Tarleton since 2015 and I’m excited to see how they grow. Alyssa Difiore, Lexi Burchfield, and Cami Deanda all bring valuable experience to our team and all should have an impact on the season in some way. We are all very excited to get going and are very hungry after the way we ended the season in Commerce last year.”

Tarleton will begin its final Division II season at The Scrapyards in Conroe, Texas for the Winter Invitational, which is hosted by Arkansas Tech University. Tarleton opens against Minnesota-Duluth on January 31 at 10 a.m. and will close out the tournament against last year’s NCAA runners-up (Texas A&M-Kingsville) and NCAA Division II National Champion (Augustana) on Sunday, February 2. The Texans will make their home debut on March 4 against Midwestern State at 4 p.m.


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