This year’s ETSU softball team is fairly young, but they believe they can out do their 15-33 record last season. 

The team will travel to Kennesaw St. for this season’s first two games, where they will face Murray St. and Kennesaw St. Both teams finished their respective seasons last year with more than 30 wins.

One thing the Bucs will look to improve is their defense. In the majority of their games a season ago, they relied on scoring 10 or more runs, while still allowing 10 or more runs, which is something they are very critical of.  

“We’ve been struggling with defense this offseason, so against our two upcoming opponents I want to see a strong defense,” said senior outfielder Jennine Duncan. “I feel like this season we have a lot of great hitters.”

The Bucs have 11 underclassmen that they hope will develop fast to make an impact and give the team a spark. The Bucs expect certain players to make an impact to help give them a chance in close games. 

“Cassi Pickett… she was great, especially as a freshman, Lindsey Fadnek was injured last season, and Tiffany Laughren had a fall,” Duncan said.

Duncan lead all Bucs batters with a batting average of .330 and tied in stolen bases with 15.

This offseason, the Bucs have focused on getting stronger and building chemistry.

“I feel like our chemistry is much better this season, and that’s why we’ll look better this season,” Duncan said.

The team has set goals for this season, one being to finish in the middle of conference after finishing last a season ago.

“We want to get way more wins this season, which should help us get further in the conference tournament,” Duncan said.

As for Duncan, she has goals for herself this season, which should help the Bucs overall.

“I want to steal over 16 bases, beat my batting average of .330 and approach the plate more confidently,” Duncan said.

If she is able to meet her goals, the Bucs offense, along with great hitters coming in and returning, should be very good. The only question that remains is how is the defense going to look against Kennesaw St. and Murray St.

It will have to be solid, because both teams are strong hitting teams. Win or lose, the Bucs will use both games to see what areas they will need to improve on and gain the necessary game experience to prepare them for a tough Southern Conference.