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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Cardinal Couple -- Smithson-Willett leaving the softball program


-Smithson-Willett granted released from Softball

-Eight freshman make up 2013 recruiting class

( DAY 4 of 'Julie Free Zone' here at the Couple.)

Cardinal Couple has learned that freshman pitcher/outfielder Jasmine Smithson-Willett has been granted her request to be released from her softball scholarship at the University of Louisville. She was one of
three freshmen on the squad...along with Ally Vaughn and Brittany Sims. 

JSW played mostly in the outfield for the Cards, helping fill the left field spot when Jen Esteban was sidelined with a leg injury. She also appeared in the pitching circle twice for Sandy Pearsall's up three hits and three runs in an early season appearance against UNLV and two runs in the final inning of the season for Louisville against UCLA.

Often, it is hard to crack an established and veteran lineup and the softball Cards certainly had one of those...all eight of the 2013 regular starters had been starters or "first off the bench" performers in the 2012 season.

Smithson-Willett came in with good pitching credentials, but with returning starter Caralisa Connell and transfer Rachel Le Coq putting up significantly good ERA numbers, JSW's chances to make any starts or lengthy appearances inside the circle never happened.

You have to wonder if that break might have occurred for her in her sophomore year. With just 10 returning players, her chances for a starting spot in the outfield looked possible...since Hannah Kiyohara is the only returning, starting outfielder that we're positive is coming back. The Louisville roster lists Jordan Trimble as a redshirt junior but other sources indicate she's finished her eligibility.

Maryssa Becker
It also could be that Smithson-Willett wants to be a pitcher primarily...and with both Connell and LeCoq returning for next might be a tough rotation to crack....especially if incoming freshman Maryssa Becker can convert her high school success (26-0, 0.43 ERA, 313 strikeouts and 6A Oregon 2012 Player of the Year) to the college game.

Becker is having a huge senior year as well. Link below:


Becker and her North Medford teammates also won the 6A Oregon State Championship Saturday with a 2-1 victory where she hurled a no-hitter. Details also available at

She appears to be a pitcher that will have great success at Louisville and turned down a lot of high profile softball programs to cast her lot with the Cardinals.

We're proponents of the three pitcher rotation. We had hoped to see it this year. We'd love to see it next season. You can't argue with the success Pearsall had with Le Coq and Connell (46-14)....but adding a proven quality hurler like Becker gives Pearsall an outstanding addition to baffle THE AMERICAN and ACC batters in the future.  

It is not immediately known where JSW will end up. A potentially powerful and talented player that was stymied by an early season leg injury, lack of playing time and chances to prove her skills...we wish her the best wherever she lands and glad to have at least one season to see her play for the Red and Black.


Autumn McDuffie
Speaking of freshmen, Louisville had eight that will join the Cardinal softball lineup for next season. Coach Pearsall has two high school pitchers (Maryssa Becker and Tiarra Sanabria), three outfielders  (Morgan Meyer, Jordan McNary and Nicole Pufahl), two infielders (Rachel Houck and Autumn McDuffie) and a catcher (Kristina Dillard) coming aboard. Several of the players are adept at other positions as well. The Louisville area and surrounding region are represented well...with half of the freshmen living within a three hour drive of campus.

Geographical breakdown:

Maryssa Becker   --    Medford, OR
Kristina Dillard   --    Annapolis, MD
Rachel Houck      --    Greenfield, IN
Autumn McDuffie    --     Louisville (PRP)
Morgan Meyer     --    Louisville  (Mercy)
Jordan McNary    --    Madisonville, KY
Nicole Pufahl      --    Moorpark, CA
Tiarra Sanabria   --    Williamstown, NJ



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