The Lady Bucs are gearing up for their first game of the spring season on Feb. 13 in the Kick-Off Classic at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
The softball team is looking to improve on a tough 2015 season in which they had an overall 15-33 record and a SoCon record of 3-15.
About 13 of those games were lost in the final inning, with the Bucs either holding the lead or tying.
The team lacked in pitching last season, mainly because one person would pitch the entire game, and it wasn’t beneficial.
Coach Brad Irwin is working to improve on that. He has added new additions to the roster, as well as returners that have been working hard.
According to Irwin, there will be seven different people ready to pitch, and no one person will pitch the entire game. In turn, he is hoping to be able to show opponents many different looks on the ball.
Irwin has been prepping this 2016 team with “more pressure-on practices to simulate a real game.”
He wants the team to be able to perform under pressure and keep their leads going into the final inning, and that all starts with practice.
“We’re wanting to stay on top of the three E’s: energy, effort and enthusiasm,” Irwin said, “and know that every pitch for all seven innings matters.”
Kelsey Chernak, a junior infielder and center, reiterated Irwin’s thoughts by saying that the key to this upcoming season will be finishing every game and not letting mistakes get the best of the team in the end.
Chernak hit .233 in 42 games and had a .988 fielding percentage for the 2015 season.
She had over 20 base hits, but that hasn’t stopped her from wanting to succeed even more.
“I’m personally going back to the basics and practicing seriously,” Kelsey says. “We [the team] are working harder and not wasting a single practice.”
She expects this team to take last year’s season and learn from it.
Chernak recognizes there are many returners, herself included, that don’t want to see what happened last season happen again.