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Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 29, 2015 at 12:07 am Contact Liam: email@example.com Leigh Ross expected Nicole Lundstrom to be her catcher for four years.But when she transferred to Providence in the offseason, Ross, the SU head coach was faced with the task of replacing arguably her best offensive weapon.This year, she’ll do that by turning to a two-catcher rotation of sophomore Alyssa Dewes and senior Julie Wambold. They’ll take over responsibilities behind the plate and fill the void offensively.“As a coach you never know what’s going to come up,” Ross said “… and so I’m asking the two of them to play important roles for us.”Lundstrom was the Orange’s starting catcher in her freshman season, ranking first on the team in at-bats (154), second in runs batted in (32), third in runs scored (29) and fourth in batting average (.312). Ross said the team would miss her bat, but also said that Dewes and Wambold are more than capable of filling the void.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDewes and Wambold hit .307 and .309, respectively last season, however, neither played an inning at catcher. While replicating Lundstrom’s power will be hard to do, both players were regulars in the SU lineup last season. Their offensive contributions were enough for Ross to expect them both to be in the lineup no matter who is behind the plate.Ross said the starting catcher would be determined game-by-game and would see how it played out from there. Dewes and Wambold both believe the change in position is only making them work harder.“We push each other to do better,” Dewes said. “Watching her work and get after it in practice only makes me want to do the same. I don’t think we’re competing with each other.”Defensively, the transition for both players hasn’t been as tough as it would be teaching the position to someone for the first time. Dewes and Wambold both played catcher in high school so there is a level of familiarity.Dewes was a catcher throughout her childhood and high school and even was originally recruited to play catcher. Ross described Wambold as an “all-around athlete” who also caught a little bit in high school.She receives “quietly and smoothly” behind the plate, Ross said, having great hands and a quick release. Those physical tools match well with the experience and confidence she brings to the table as a senior. Dewes, though a sophomore, has the stronger arm.“Having two great catchers is going to be great this year. They each do something different really well behind the plate and in the way they handle pitchers,” pitcher Lindsay Larkin said. “Every pitcher is comfortable with both of them calling a game.”The catchers have been working on lots of drills to improve on blocking loose balls, framing pitches and picking runners off base.The most improvement Ross has seen has come from live bullpen sessions where Dewes and Wambold have been developing chemistry with the team’s pitchers. She is encouraged by what she’s seen, despite the fact that neither has caught in a game for SU before.“It’s like riding a bike,” Wambold said. “It doesn’t take much to get back in the swing of things. Just lots of reps.” Comments
Former USC Department of Public Safety officer Keith Lawrence will be honored for his service this week in Washington D.C. as part of National Police Week May 11-17. His name will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial that honors law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.Lawrence and his fiancée Monica Quan were killed in the parking garage of their Irvine condominium last February by former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner.USC Department of Public Safety officer Keith Lawrence and his fiancée were killed last February by former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner. Lawrence will be honored Tuesday at the the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. — photo courtesy of DPS Chief ThomasThough Lawrence was technically off-duty at the time of his death, the Irvine Police Department ruled that he died in the line of duty, in part because evidence suggested that Dorner, angry about his termination from LAPD and the failure of his subsequent appeals, had specifically targeted both Lawrence and Quan. Quan’s father, Randy Quan, represented Dorner at the internal review hearing that lead to his dismissal from LAPD.“He felt that Randy Quan did not do a good enough job in defending him,” DPS Chief John Thomas said. “His retribution was he wanted to hurt Randy and if he couldn’t hurt Randy he was going to hurt his family.”Thomas and about 20 officers from the department will accompany Keith’s parents Kevin and Venius Lawrence to Washington D.C. and take part in events throughout the week which is geared to honor police officers and their families. The week’s events include a candlelight vigil at the Memorial on Tuesday.“My role in that ceremony is to accompany Keith’s mother and father up to the front and read his name and place a wreath in front of where his name is going to be engraved on the monument,” Chief Thomas said.The monument bears the names of more than 20,000 officers killed in the line of duty throughout U.S. history. Lawrence is one of two campus officers whose names will be added to the wall this year. The second is Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier who was shot and killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.Lawrence is the first officer in the history of USC DPS to be killed in the line of duty.Chief Thomas said it’s interesting that both the campus officers being honored this year were killed in tragic stories heavily covered by the national media. But, he said, campus law enforcement officers are increasingly facing more dangerous situations.“It’s getting more and more frequent in the sense that campus law enforcement are put in places and have to deal with situations that actually are just as deadly or sometime even more deadly than municipal agents or federal agents,” Chief Thomas said. “Crime doesn’t know any boundaries.”Lawrence joined DPS as an armed police officer in August 2012. He had previously worked in municipal policing but was looking to join campus law enforcement. Randy Quan, who knew Chief Thomas from their time at LAPD suggested Lawrence might be a good fit at USC.“He went through our process and was successful,” Chief Thomas said. “In the short time he was here he really loved being at USC. He found his place and I was excited to look at how he would contribute to our university and his future. He was so full of life and had so much ahead of him.”Thomas said, Lawrence loved two things: Monica Quan and basketball. Quan and Lawrence met at Concordia University where both played basketball. They got engaged a few days before their deaths.“He was so in love with Monica he used to drive people nuts around here because it was all he wanted to talk about,” Thomas said. “It’s rare that cops will actually just talk about their girlfriend or their wife or their fiancée, but that’s all he did.”Thomas said DPS has created a shadow box that will be put up in the office and the department will retire Lawrence’s badge number, 41.