As the Florida Gator softball team prepares to say farewell to its five seniors, let’s take a walk down memory lane and relive the success this group has had:
In four years, these seniors have won three SEC regular season titles, one SEC tournament title and they’ve packed their bags and headed to Oklahoma City for two Women’s College World Series.
Included in the 2019 senior class is outfielder Amanda Lorenz. Over the course of her tenure at Florida, she has arguably become the face of the team as she was never too shy to put her emotions and personality on display.
Making the coast to coast journey from her hometown of Moorpark, California, Lorenz knew she wanted to be a Gator from the moment she stepped foot on campus; and she has made the most of her time here ever since.
In four years, Lorenz has racked up a number of accolades including SEC Freshman of the Year in 2016, All-SEC First Team in 2017, SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player in 2018 and SEC Softball Player of the Year in 2018. Lorenz also played for Team USA in 2018. Lorenz is also on pace to be the Gators’ career batting average leader.
Joining Lorenz in this year’s senior class is another soon-to-be Gator Great, Kelly Barnhill. Barnhill, who has been Tim Walton’s bell-cow in the circle will be looked at one of the best softball players to ever don the orange and blue.
The Marietta, Georgia native joins Lorenz in terms of having a running list of accomplishments. During her time at Florida, Barnhill leads UF’s career ranks in ERA (0.92), strikeouts per seven innings (11.52) and lowest stolen base percentage (0.419). Earlier this season while visiting Auburn, Barnhill also broke Florida’s all-time strikeout record surpassing Stacy Nelson’s 1,116 strikeouts by five.
Florida’s ace joined Lorenz on Team USA in 2018 as well as being named the SEC’s Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and 2018. Barnhill also is the recipient of an ESPY, which was awarded in 2017 for the Best Female Collegiate Athlete. espnW also awarded Barnhill player of the year.
Outfielder Lily Mann was also recognized during senior celebrations at KSP on Saturday. Mann, who comes from a stones throw away in St. Cloud, appeared in 32 games and served as a defensive specialist and pinch runner. The highlight of Mann’s career at Florida came on May 26th, 2018 when she scored the winning run in the walk-off finale against Texas A&M in the Gaineville Super Regional to punch the Gators’ ticket to Oklahoma City.
The fourth player celebrated on Saturday was utility player Theresa Swertfager. Hailing from Katonah, New York, Swertfager’s highlight of her career came in her sophomore season in 2017 when she successfully put down a SAC bunt against LSU during the WCWS to move Sofia Reynoso into scoring position and set up an important four-run seventh inning against the Tigers.
Finally, outfielder Alex Voss, of Coral Springs also made plenty of contributions for the Gators; many of which coming in crucial moments. As a sophomore, Voss’ speed around the bases proved vital as she produced the second run in scoring from first to put the Gators’ up 2-0 over LSU in at the WCWS. Voss also tracked down two fly balls in center field for a pair of putouts against Washington at the WCWS.
As a group, these seniors have set a high standard for Florida softball. In four years, the Gators have recorded a .836 winning percentage. Today, we say farewell to five seniors who have donned the orange and blue with grace and pride. While they play for the name across their chest, we will remember each of them for the name across their back.
Florida will likely host a regional series at home, therefore it’s highly unlikely that this is the last time Gators fans will see these seniors at KSP.