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Friday, February 17, 2006

Humphreys’ play boon to Jayhawks

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Kassie Humphreys appears to have returned to form, and that's good news for Kansas University's softball squad.

Humphreys, a junior right-hander from Glendale, Ariz., sparkled on the mound when KU split four games at a season-opening tournament last weekend in Houston.

"Her whole mental approach has changed," KU coach Tracy Bunge said. "She put too much pressure on herself last year and never really relaxed."

Two years ago, Humphreys posted a 14-12 record with a sparkling 1.57 earned-run average. As a sophomore, however, her ERA ballooned to 3.74 and she rarely was used during the Big 12 Conference schedule.

In Houston, however, Humphreys pitched 15 innings, allowing only one earned run. She fanned 19 hitters and walked only four.

"To her credit, instead of pouting," Bunge said, "she went home and worked harder than she ever had."

Humphreys will start at least two of the five games KU is scheduled to play this weekend at a tourney in Las Vegas.

Today, KU will meet Central Michigan at 5:45 p.m. and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo at 8 p.m. On Saturday, it will be Brigham Young at 3:30 p.m. and national power Tennessee at 8 p.m.

KU will wrap it up with a 1 p.m. game Sunday against UNLV.

"All in all," Bunge said, "we're facing five pretty tough ball games."

Also slated to pitch for the Jayhawks are Serena Settlemier and freshman Valerie George. Settlemier started twice last weekend, but George wasn't used. The game she was scheduled to pitch was canceled because of cold weather.

Kansas will hit the road again next weekend for a tournament in Palm Springs, Calif.

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