March 18, 2013
Time seems to fly by when we are in the midst of our season. It was just “yesterday” that I was in the middle of doing homework fantasizing about spring break and having a whole week away from the classroom. Then I blink and spring break is practically over. While the fact that we all have to go back to being STUDENT- athletes come Monday may be a damper, our performance in the past couple of weeks has not been.
Last time I checked in we had just finished beating Troy 12-6. Going into our home tournament at the Renegade Classic we did not start off very well. Although we beat Troy the night before the tournament we fell the day after then fell to Southern Mississippi. At that point we knew we had some fixing to do. With the changing of positions and figuring out new individual roles on the team due to the loss of some key players we all knew it was gut check time.
Like I stated before: winning is giving your all to the game and knowing that you did so. After the losses that we faced against Troy and Southern Mississippi we stepped up and we all knew what we were capable of and started simply playing the game like we knew how. Once we reached that realization we became unstoppable. We ended up beating Appalachian State, the number 1 seed in the tournament, twice to make it to the championship game where we defeated Troy 8-0 in five innings.
Throughout this tournament stepping-stones and turning points definitely took place as well as some hilarious memories. Unfortunately the wind was not Celeste’s friend when she hit what was supposed to be a home run that ended up a pop fly into the left fielder’s glove. The funny part about this play is that Celeste was so confident in her home run swing that she didn’t even look to see if the ball left the field. We all laughed as she trotted around the base paths in utter confusion when everyone was making fun of her instead of giving her praise.
I’ve been slapping since my freshman year in high school. However, when we were playing Troy in the championship game it is as though I completely forgot how to cross over and maintain balance. I brought my bat around to bunt the ball crossed my legs to begin my slapping motion when in the blink of an eye I faceplanted into the dirt fouling the ball off of my bat. For a split second I had no idea what had happened and couldn’t figure out why the dirt was so close to my face. That’s when I realized I was probably going to be the butt of all jokes for the rest of the season because I may be the only senior collegiate athlete that falls on her face trying to bunt a ball. I trip, stumble, and fall all the time, literally ALL the time, but that impeccable showcase of balance definitely took the cake. Between my team laughing hysterically in the dugout and Coacha at third base unable to take her hands off of her mouth from laughing so hard I’m just glad I fouled the ball off instead of being the laughing stock and an easy out.
This funny and promising performance led us into our midweek game against Presbyterian where we won 8-0 in five innings. We were excited about winning and playing like we knew how but our first ACC series of the season was ahead of us. If we weren’t serious before we knew it was the time to get serious.
We had to prove something at NC State. We all know how much easier it is in the end when you come out strong in conference play. That is exactly what we did. We ended up sweeping our ACC opponent and while doing so sophomore pitcher Lacey Waldrop and junior utility Courtney Senas locked down ACC pitcher and ACC player of the week. Kelly Hensley and Kirstin Austin also had amazing plate appearances especially in clutch situations and rookies Victoria East and Kaitlin Allen both stepped up as freshman being there for the team when we needed them.
There was a great addition to our dugout at NC State. Our good luck charm Taylor Foster spent the weekend cheering us on and making us smile. Battling cancer, her presence was a constant reminder to cherish what we have and to always continue to fight. If she can do it we know we can. Yes we are battling for our season but we are also battling for Taylor every time we put on our uniform.
We came back to Tallahassee excited about spring break and our winning streak. Our doubleheader against Florida International University and a solo game against Tennessee State only helped our streak to grow. We ended up beating FIU 11-2 in five innings and 7-4 in the second game. We came back the next day to beat TSU 8-0 in five innings where senior pitcher Monica Perry got her first no hitter!
Unfortunately, our 10-game win streak came to an end against Minnesota last Friday, but we picked it up from there by winning three consecutive games against both Minnesota and Georgia Southern to finish the Sunshine Classic with a 3-1 record.