2019 Softball Season In Review
Take a look back at the 2019 season for South Carolina softball
South Carolina softball closed the 2019 season with a 38-19 record having advanced to its fourth-straight regional final under Beverly Smith. This season’s trip to the postseason was the program’s seventh-consecutive berth to set a new record for consecutive years in regional action.
Under Smith the Gamecocks have now won 30 or more games each of the past seven years, the first time the program has done so since 2002 when it had 16-straight years of 30 or more win seasons.
While the season had its ups and downs, the highs will undoubtedly outweigh the lows as Carolina heads into the offseason ready to return in 2020.
TEAM SEASON NOTES
- The Gamecocks reached an NCAA Postseason regional for the seventh-straight year in 2019 to break the school record for consecutive trips. The program had previously gone six-consecutive seasons twice (1999-2004 & 1978-1983).
- Carolina played its first ever games out of the United State as it opened the year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Kenzi Maguire and Haley Simpson were the first two players in program history named to a tournament team outside the U.S.
- South Carolina had a 15-game winning streak for the second-consecutive season, marking the first time since the 1996 and 1997 seasons the program won 10-straight games (or more) in back-to-back years.
- Head coach Beverly Smith earned her 300thcareer win as head coach at South Carolina in a 5-4 victory over Duke on March 20, 2019. Her first win as head coach came on Feb. 11, 2011, in a 10-6 win against Charleston Southern.
- The Gamecocks earned back-to-back series wins over Alabama and Auburn, becoming just the third team in the conference since 2005 to do so (11 chances). Carolina outscored the two rivals 30-20 over the two weekends with eight home runs. It was the first time since 2009 Carolina took the series over Alabama.
- The series win over Auburn marked just the second time under Beverly Smith the Gamecocks dropped the series opener and came back to win a set on the road and the first time they had done so against a ranked team away from Beckham Field.
- As far as season records go, Carolina set a new high mark for on-base percentage (.407), home runs (77) and RBI (323). Overall the program had a higher batting average (+ 34 points), more runs (+10), more hits (+9), more doubles (+8), more RBI (+14), more home runs (+12) higher slugging percentage (+78 points), more walks (+34), fewer strikeouts (-50), less grounded into double plays (-2) and a better on-base percentage (+42 points) than it had in 2018.
- Including 2019, Carolina has won 20 or more games at home each of the past six seasons and has not lost more than nine games at Beckham Field since 2013. The six-straight years of 20 or more wins at home is a program best.
- Another notable streak continued in 2019 as the Gamecocks have had more than 30,000 fans come to Carolina Stadium for the past six-consecutive years. Carolina tied the program record for largest single-game crowd against Alabama with 2,250 which was previously set in 1997.
- While the final polls of the year haven’t come out yet, the first poll of the year was a nice sight for the Gamecocks as it marked the first time since 2004 the program started a season ranked.
- Carolina finished the year with 11 saves as a team, just one off the school record set in 1999.
- The Gamecocks closed the year with 24-consecutive non-conference wins.
PLAYER SEASON NOTES
- Cayla Drotar dominated the Gamecock Invitational, batting .636 with 12 RBI and three home runs (including a grand slam) on her way to earning her first SEC Player of the Week honor of her career.
- After blowing out the competition in South Florida, Jana Johns was named SEC Player of the Week for the first time in her career.
- Dixie Raley dominated the Alabama weekend, becoming the first Gamecock pitcher under Beverly Smith to defeat the Crimson Tide twice in a weekend. For her efforts she was named SEC Pitcher of the Week for the first time in her career.
- Karly Heath was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the first time in her career on April 23.
- Mackenzie Boesel finished the year as the program’s hit leader for the third-straight time. This marked the first time since 1993 a Gamecock matched that mark and just the third time since 1981. No player in program history has done it four-straight seasons in 42 years of South Carolina softball. She has led the team the past trio of years in at-bats and runs, as well.
- It’s never too soon for record watch and Mackenzie Boesel finds herself within range of a few in 2020 as she returns for her senior year.
- She is 67 runs away from the school record for runs in a career.
- Just 10 doubles away from the school record for doubles in a career.
- Eight home runs away from the school record for homers in a career.
- One grand slam away from tying the school record (during Beverly Smith era).
- After a standout freshman season in 2018, Jana Johns did not disappoint in 2019 as she had a career best in:
- Batting average (+92 points)
- Runs (+16)
- Hits (+16)
- Triples (+2)
- Home runs (+9)
- RBI (+5)
- Total bases (+44)
- Slugging percentage (+291 points)
- Walks (+18)
- Strikeouts (-13)
- On-base percentage (+112 points)
- Stolen bases (+1)
- Senior Kennedy Clark shined, as well, to go out on top with career bests in:
- Batting average (+73 points)
- Runs (+15)
- Hits (+12)
- Doubles (+7)
- Home runs (+4)
- Slugging percentage (+200 points)
- Walks (+1)
- Strikeouts (-3)
- On-base percentage (+63 points)
- Kennedy Clark also reached base her final 26 games played.
- Continuing on with Kennedy Clark, she had a Carolina-best 19 multi-hit games while Jana Johns led the way with 13 multi-RBI contests. Kenzi Maguire had a hit in each of her last six games of the year, the longest Carolina streak to close the season. She also reached base in the last 15 games, as well.
- Kenzi Maguire and Jana Johns both broke the school record for hit by pitches in a career and are currently tied for the most in program history.
- Jana Johns, Cayla Drotar and Alyssa Kumiyama earned spots on the All-Southeast Regional Third-Team. This is the first time Johns and Kumiyama have earned All-Region honors and the second-straight year for Drotar. The three overall selections is tied for the most for the Gamecocks since 1999. Carolina last earned three or more spots on All-Region teams in back-to-back years in the 1996-97 seasons.
- Mackenzie Boesel was named to the 2019 NCAA D1 Region 4 CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.
- Jana Johns was named to the All-SEC Second-Team while Madison Owens earned SEC All-Freshman Team.
South Carolina returns to action in 2020 looking to celebrate 10 years of softball under head coach Beverly Smith. For more information on the Gamecocks throughout the offseason, continue to check back with gamecocksonline.com.