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Mizzou Softball set to begin season in NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic


Mizzou Softball is heading south to kick off its season this weekend. Starting on Friday, Larissa Anderson's crew will play five games in three days in the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic down in Clearwater, Florida.

Right out of the gate, the Tigers will face some tough competition. During opening weekend, Mizzou will face two teams ranked among the top 20 college softball teams in the nation, including No. 16 Utah and No. 7 Clemson.

"The biggest thing is we need to take care of ourselves. We need to focus on Mizzou, and it doesn't really matter who we play. We know it's a tough schedule. They're all competing. It's opening day, so everyone's going to be excited," Anderson said at Tuesday's press conference. "It's making sure that we stay disciplined, that we stay fundamentally perfect, that we don't try to make the game bigger than it is and just be consistent in our performance. The biggest message all preseason long has been just to compete."

You can watch the full press conference with Mizzou softball coach Larissa Anderson in the video player below.

Mizzou has a lot of returning talent on this season's roster. The Tigers have seven players on this year's team that posted 100 or more at-bats last season, including Preseason All-SEC selections Alex Honnold and Jenna Laird. Anderson also brought back two of her top three pitchers from last season, based on innings pitched. Mizzou also added Northern Iowa transfer Mya Dodge and eight freshmen. Anderson mentioned at Tuesday's press conference that she's really excited about the potential of freshman infielder Madison Walker and pitcher Marissa McCann. She also likes the leadership that's coming back in both the circle and the lineup.

"We have great leadership with Laurin Krings. She's going to probably do a lot of the workload but having Cierra Harrison and Marissa McCann behind her obviously, seeing how they're able to compete against our own team, I know we're going to get a lot out of them and having the depth with Taylor Pannell as well," Anderson said. "I think the year of experience that we have in our lineup in getting another year with Julia Crenshaw and Maddie Gallagher being in our program her second year. We know we're going to get great offensive production with Jenna Laird and Alex Honnold, like they've been in our lineup every day since they stepped foot on campus, and it's just making sure that we're surrounding those players with other great players."

The Tigers are also entering the 2024 season with a chip on their shoulder. Anderson said her team believes they underperformed last season, and Mizzou was picked to finish 11th in the conference standings in the annual SEC preseason poll.

"It's like Eli Drinkwitz says 'something to prove' and that's kind of the same mentality, and it's just about us," Anderson said. "I'd rather be at the bottom and prove everyone wrong than be at the top and have the bullseye on our back. Our number one goal is to play Regionals back in our stadium. That's what we're going to work towards."

The first pitch of Mizzou's 2024 season is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. against No. 16 Utah.

Article Topic Follows: Mizzou Softball
college softball
Larissa Anderson
mizzou tigers
nfca division I leadoff classic
southeastern conference

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Kyle Helms

I joined ABC 17 News in August 2023 as a videographer. I am currently a Multimedia Journalist and Anchor for the ABC 17 Sports team.


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