The 2013 season will dawn Friday for the Princeton softball team with its opening tournament at North Florida in Jacksonville.
All three opponents - Delaware State, North Florida and St. Bonaventure - are first-time foes for the Tigers. Princeton will face St. Bonaventure at 10 a.m. Friday, North Florida at 3 p.m. Friday, and Delaware State at 10 a.m. Saturday with teams then seeded into a semifinal later Saturday with a championship or consolation game Sunday.
North Florida has a Tournament Central page with information on all four teams and live stats for all games here.
The Tigers graduated their two top hitters from a year ago in Kelsey VandeBergh (.326) and Nicole Ontiveros (.289), but return the rest of the roster including all three pitchers from last season. Seniors Alex Peyton (6-14, 3.24) and Liza Kuhn (6-13, 3.69) threw most of the innings a year ago, with sophomore Meredith Brown (2-5, 3.77) also seeing time. Six freshmen join the team this season to make the 19-player roster.
The weekend will also be a homecoming for Princeton sophomore Libby Crowe, from St. Johns, Fla., just south of Jacksonville.
St. Bonaventure (1-12) has already played three weekends, competing in tournaments at Campbell in Tennessee, at Cleveland State and at Florida Gulf Coast. The Bonnies' win was a 7-2 victory over Cleveland State on Feb. 17, but the last five outcomes have been defeats. SBU has two hitters above .300 on the season in Jessenia Andujar (.333) and Emily McDonough (.317), while Kate Sinclair (.214) has popped three of the team's five home runs. Four pitchers have seen time already this season, with Julia Pratt (0-5, 7.23) logging a team-high 37 1/3 innings.
North Florida (14-4) is a winner of six in a row, and all the Ospreys' games have taken place in Florida or Alabama over the three weekends so far. Four Osprey hitters are above .300, with Mariah Reynolds leading the team at .432 and tied for the team lead with two home runs. Three pitchers have split time, with Kaylie Wallace (6-1, 0.81) and Kayla Goff (5-3, 1.83) as the main arms.
Delaware State (0-3) is closer to the Tigers in on-field playing experience so far this season, having had their first games last Sunday and Monday in Norfolk, Va., against Fairleigh Dickinson (two defeats) and Monmouth. In the early-going, the Hornets have two batters above .300, and both are well above that mark at .425 with Jessica Madrid and Kelsey Doherty. Doherty has the team's lone home run. Three pitchers have split the innings, with Stephanie Sarris (0-2, 7.36) putting in a team-high 7 1/3 frames.
Following the North Florida tournament, Princeton will spend the rest of its pre-conference schedule in the Mid-Atlantic before opening the conference slate March 30 at '95 Field against Brown.