Published: March 17, 2016
The University’s softball team begins its season Saturday in Clermont, Florida, and the team is looking to improve on last year’s campaign.
The team will be participating in a series of 10 games in Florida while The University is on spring break.
Last spring, the team finished the season with a record of 19-15, including a 5-7 record within the Landmark Conference.
The team is looking to find more success this year, and senior pitcher Jamie Hampsey said the youth on the team is key to finding that success.
“Improving our offense was something we improved this offseason. A lot of us worked on our bats, because we lost a lot of games by just one run last year. Girls were getting in cages, improving their hitting,” Hampsey said. “Our defense has always been strong, so the focus on our offensive game was key, and the hard work is definitely paying off.”
Hampsey, who has a career record of 17-17, went on to say the uncharacteristic warm winter has helped the team prepare even more so than previous years.
“We’ve never had more than probably two or three practices outdoors because of the bad weather, but we’ve already had six outdoor practices this preseason,” Hampsey said.
Junior shortstop Shannon Stricker said the experience the team has, despite only having two seniors, is an enormous positive.
“Our biggest strength is definitely our experience. The past couple of years we’ve had a lot more underclassmen, but we’re older and more experienced now,” Stricker said. “I think it’s really going to help us this year, since we’re all comfortable playing with each other.”
Because of the previous experience playing with each other, Stricker said the expectations are relatively high entering this year.
“We definitely have very high expectations. Last year we finished a few games above .500, and this year we feel like we can do even better than that,” Stricker said. “We’re ready to be able to win close games and show the Landmark (Conference) what we can do.”
The Landmark Conference is full of talent, and the team knows no games will be easy. However, Stricker went on to say the team is confident, and eager to compete with the rest of the teams.
“Our conference is very competitive overall, as every game is always close,” Stricker said. “But our biggest competition is probably Moravian (College). They’re ranked in the top 25 in the country, and last year we gave them two very close games, so this year we want to go out there and beat them.”
The team starts its Florida series of games against Buena Vista University Saturday at 5 p.m. The team’s first home game is March. 26 against Moravian at 1 and 3 p.m.
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