The Jayhawks came in to 2016 looking to make their third consecutive NCAA Tournament, but were not selected despite a winning season. The Jayhawks got another win this year against Big 12 bully Oklahoma, but their overall strength of schedule is apparently what kept them out of the postseason. (The Big 12 does not have a conference tournament for softball since only 7 schools participate.)
Final Big 12 Standings
Four schools from the Big 12 were selected for the NCAA Tournament: Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas, and Oklahoma State.
Here is how KU finished in various statistical categories in the Big 12:
I honestly expected more from the offense, but overall not a bad performance, very close to right in the middle of the pack. Coach Megan Smith obviously does not emphasize the running game, as this is the second year in a row that Kansas has had the fewest stolen bases and caught stealings.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by the pitching. Can't ask for much more there. And that's all I really have to say about that.
SS Chaley Brickey finished 8th in the Big 12 in batting average, hitting .387 on the season. She also finished fifth in runs scored and fourth in doubles while leading the Big 12 in walks. She was named to the All-Big 12 first team for the second consecutive year.
SP Andie Formby finished 5th in the Big 12 in ERA with 2.26 in 33 starts. She went 16-7 on the year, with a 113-34 K/BB. She finished fourth in the conference in strikeouts.
P Alexis Reid was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman team. In 17 appearances, she went 5-6 with a 3.66 ERA in 65.0 IP.
The Jayhawks will lose SS Chaley Brickey, the heart of the KU offense (and defense) for the last four years. Losing her will be a big blow. Kansas will also lose OF Shannon McGinley, INF Kylee Kennedy, P Monique Wesley, and OF Briana Evans. McGinley and Evans have also been big parts of the KU offense for the past several seasons, so while it could be worse, KU will be looking to replace some offensive production in 2017.
By all indications, Coach Smith has the Jayhawks headed in the right direction and should have a solid squad next year that will be in contention for an NCAA Tournament berth. If KU can put together the right schedule (and win the right games), expect the Jayhawks to return the to NCAA Tournament.