After a season in which Clemson experienced being the hunted rather than the hunters, coach John Rittman acknowledged that Clemson softball is no longer going to be sneaking up on opponents. Teams across the country will be ready to play the Tigers …
After a season in which Clemson experienced being the hunted rather than the hunters, coach John Rittman acknowledged that Clemson softball is no longer going to be sneaking up on opponents. Teams across the country will be ready to play the Tigers
Rittman and his staff learned how to manage those expectations last year after playing one of the toughest schedules in the country. The Tigers advanced to the super regionals in their second full year as a program.
Speaking with The Clemson Insider at Dear Old Clemson’s NIL event in Clemson Saturday, Rittman provided a season outlook and how his program will navigate the heightened expectations that come with a lot of success.
“We’re so excited to have this new group on campus,” Rittman said “Looking forward to another great year. We had a great off-season. Obviously, working really hard to take that next step for this season. We’ve had such a rapid rise in the rankings and regionals are in our first full season, of course, super regionals last year.
“Our main objective is to keep working hard, stay humble and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played and, of course, our main goal is to try to get to a Women’s College World Series. There’s a lot that goes into that and we have to take care of business and prepare and get ourselves ready this fall.”
Rittman said that he’s looking forward to coaching the young core of players that Clemson has, as well as some of the additions that the Tigers made to the roster during that offseason. Rittman and staff brought in one freshman in the 2022 recruiting class and three transfers.
The lone incoming freshman coming is first baseman Marena Knowles, who Rittman described as a “versatile left-handed hitter.” Clemson also added three grad transfers — outfielder Caroline Jacobsen (Duke), outfielder Ally Miklesh (Wisconsin) and infielder Reedy Davenport (Florida Gulf Coast).
“Starting with Caroline Jacobsen, an outfielder from Duke University — great hitter, great athletic softball player,” Rittman said when asked about Clemson’s incoming grad transfers, “and so she’s going to add a lot to our program. As well as Ally Miklesh, she’s an outfielder transfer from the University of Wisconsin. Tremendous player, with good range and speed. She’s gonna provide a lot for us. And then we have Reedy Davenport, an infielder from Florida Gulf Coast University — another grad transfer.”
“Plugging in some leadership,” Rittman continued. “Plugging in kids with experience, along with our returners. Of course, competition breeds success and this fall, we’re gonna have a lot of competition for some positions and I’m looking forward to it.”
Clemson will do so with losses of some key components like Marissa Guimbarda, Cammy Pereira and Sam Russ, who all exhausted their eligibility following the completion of the 2021-22 season. Guimbarda and Pereira aren’t easy to replace, as they’re two players who nearly started every game at Clemson.
“It’s something where you do some great recruiting and you get out there and the program is in a good place right now,” Rittman said. We’re attracting some of the top players in the country. But, we all know last year is last year. This is a new year and we kind of have to be prepared and ready to take that next step.”
With that said, how has Rittman felt like recruiting has changed with the heightened success of the program?
“I think it’s definitely changed,” he said. “Success of the program has opened up a lot of doors for us nationally. Clemson is a national brand, thanks to the great athletic tradition of all of our sports here. But, our success, our ability to play on TV, to play on that national stage, has opened up a lot of doors in recruiting for Clemson softball.”
Rittman acknowledged that getting to this point hasn’t been a perfect, smooth run for this program.
“A lot of people think just because we won, we haven’t had any adversity or ups and downs, but we have,” Rittman said, “and we’ve learned from our mistakes. We played through injuries. We played through COVID. We played through a lot of situations and it’s helped mold our team and our program to where we’re at today.”
Dear Old Clemson has loaded up our online store with some great collectibles from our event for the Clemson softball team.
Now there is a new way you can support Clemson student-athletes. Purchase collectibles from Dear Old Clemson and the proceeds with go to support Clemson student-athletes. Visit Dear Old Clemson to find out all the different ways you can help!