Things didn't look too promising on the first day of the tournament. Bad weather came through the Palo Alto area and resulted in the Kentucky game being canceled. All our focus immediately shifted to Stanford.
We came out focused and hungry to upset another nationally ranked team. We stayed in the game from the first to last pitch and never let the thought of defeat enter our minds. Carly (Hummel) pitched a solid game and did what she does best...dominate hitters. She was confident, relaxed and wanted to defeat Stanford with everything she had.
Saturday we took on North Dakota State and UC Davis. Our game against North Dakota State gave us a few challenges. After a few miscues early in the game, they put a couple of runs on the board and we never could answer back. Janelle (Valle) and Lauren (Carley) split the game and both did a great job of keeping their hitters off balance as both of their runs were unearned. Our offense just didn't provide any run support. This is a game that we learn from, then turn the page and keep pushing forward.
We came out completely refocused for our second game against UC Davis. We weren't going to let the same thing happen twice. Our hitters were hungry and determined to provide the run support for our pitching staff. We were a completely different team than from earlier in the day. It was good to see our team be able to bounce back from a defeat and refocus for game two.
On Sunday, we played Colorado State. Even though Colorado hit two home runs, we didn't give in. Their pitcher kept us scoreless till the seventh when we finally strung some hits together and pushed runs across to tie the game. It took us an extra inning to steal the win, but we got it! That "never give in" attitude is what will make us great team this year. We need to bring that every game, no matter who our opponent is.
After our game on Sunday, we got cleaned up and headed to San Francisco to spend the rest of the day. It was a lot of fun. It gave the team an opportunity away from the softball field to bond and to enjoy the state of California. The Moreno family (parents of Nikki) planned a fun afternoon for the team and our families. The first activity of the night: a boat ride on a San Francisco Fireboat. The first challenge of the night: getting onto the boat. The fireboat was docked at the fire station with only one way to get on board...swinging from a hanging rope from the dock onto the boat. I must admit, I was a little nervous. Not for the current athletes (the players), but for the "athletes of the past" (coaches and parents)! I just knew someone was bound to get a taste of California saltwater! However, I guess I underestimated our retirees. I learned valuable lesson: once an athlete, always an athlete! Everyone successfully made it safely to the boat, even my sister (Sondra) who was in a boot and on crutches from a torn Achilles! The fireboat took us for a ride by Alcatraz, then past Pier 39 to see a bunch of seals sun bathing, and then on to the San Francisco Giant's stadium. We docked back at the Station and spent the rest of the night at Pier 39 where we ate and shopped. It was a great way to end a great weekend in Cali!
We had a successful outing in the West Coast and now our focus is to keep climbing the ladder. We won't settle and won't be contempt with where we are. Twenty-five percent of the season is over, and the foundation is set for a championship season. The second 25 percent starts conference play and a chance to make a name for ourselves in C-USA.
We continue our season at Mississippi State this weekend and are looking to improve on our record. We will continue to work hard and perfect the little things at the three practices we have this week and then gear up and trust the work we've put in.
Heather Mott #10