May 2011 Archives

2011 Softball Blog #11 -- Senior Heather Mott

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May 23, 2011

It is the end of the road of a memorable and rewarding journey. All the sweat, fatigue, 6 A. M. workouts, long practices, and punishment foul poles, combined with all the laughs, smiles, farmer's tan's, road trips, and life-long friendships, have made this year unforgettable.

Our team has so much to be proud of this year. We have been "the first" to accomplish so many program goals. Memphis Softball is no longer a new and growing program, but instead an established program that competes at the national level. The 2011 squad took the program to that next level but it could not have been done without the hard work and dedication of the coaches and players that came before us.

What made this team so special? Why were we so successful? In my five years as a Tiger, I have never played on a team that was so focused on one goal. In a team sport with so many players, it is sometimes hard to get everyone on the same page. That was the difference in this team. No matter what was happening off the field or in our individual lives, on the field we were a unit working towards one purpose. The togetherness was there, the competiveness was there, and the passion was there. With these three things going for you, it's hard to lose.

This is only the beginning of great things to come from this program and from the players it produces. After talking to a few of the players who will be returning next year, there's no doubt they want another shot at the NCAA tournament. I am looking forward to following the team and cheering them on as they start a new journey in 2012.

Thank you to all the families that have supported our team this year. As players, we are so fortunate to have the support from the people who we love the most. You all are our biggest fans!

I am so grateful for the experience I have had at the University of Memphis. I truly mean that. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It has been so much more than just playing softball for me. The relationships I have made with my teammates and coaches are irreplaceable. I will truly miss being part of this team but I am leaving with so many incredible memories that will last a lifetime. Besides, once a Tiger always a Tiger! I will now Bleed Blue for the rest of my life!

Go Tigers Go!

Heather Mott #10

2011 Softball Blog #10 -- Senior Heather Mott

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May 16, 2011

Words can't express the excitement that I am feeling right now! Growing up, I remember watching the NCAA tournament on TV and thinking how awesome it would be to be in those girl's shoes. At the time, it felt like a shot in the dark, but today it is reality! Memphis Softball has once again made history with a first ever NCAA tournament bid!

Coach Thees invited the team to her house for a Selection Show party Sunday night. We were either going to leave the party really happy or really sad. The players started to arrive around 8:30 and we all anxiously waited for the show to start at 9. To pass the time and help calm the nerves, we did what our team does best. We ate! Coach Thees' kitchen counter was full of goodies that included cupcakes, brownies, cookies and chocolate covered strawberries.

As the show started, we all gathered in front a huge projection screen and transformed ourselves into human pretzels as we crossed every part of our bodies. Coach Thees' twins, Ali and Megan, even crossed their eyes.

The first two regions came up with no luck. Then the second two were announced. Then the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh pair of regions were announced and Memphis still hadn't appeared. The Alabama region was the final one to be announced, and sure enough Memphis was in it! We exploded in cheers, and tears of joy streamed down our faces. We did it!

This team deserves to go to Regionals. We have worked way too hard and have invested way too much to not go. This program deserves to go to Regionals. One thing that attracted me to Memphis was the thought of building a program. It's unbelievable the steps this program has taken in only six years. It's crazy to think that only a few years ago we were crossing our fingers and toes hoping to just get into the conference tournament. We have raised the bar and from here on out the goal is to make it further than the year before. This is only the beginning of great things to come from this program.

We have survived another week and it's going to be the most memorable week of the season, or for me my career! No matter what happens from here on out, we can be very proud of what we accomplished this year. Nothing was handed to us. We earned everything we got through hard work. That in itself is the greatest accomplishment of all.

Now, we have some fun! There is no pressure and nothing to prove. We have already proven we are among the best teams in the nation. We trust the work we have put in and just enjoy playing the game!

Go Tigers! Heather Mott #10

Jeff Brightwell's Blog - 2010-2011 #11

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Although the Tigers only have three weekends left in the regular season, there are 10 Tigers now playing pro ball. Good to see Jon Leicester back in the states after spending a year in the Japanese leage. He and two other Tigers are now in Triple-A, so maybe we'll add another major leaguer this season.

2011 Softball Blog #9 -- Senior Heather Mott

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Senior Day is always a highly anticipated weekend, especially for the Senior class, as it marks the last home series of the season. My favorite part is seeing all the families and friends that come in town for the weekend to take part in honoring the senior class. As a player, there's nothing better than playing in front of the people you love. The stands transform into a sea of royal and for the few hours we are on the field, the only thing that matters is Memphis Softball.

I feel honored to be part of this senior class. Every one of our seniors have shown complete dedication to our team and an unique passion to compete that is sometimes hard to find in players. We are a group full of leaders and a group of fiery competitors that just want to win. This combination along with a solid group of talented non-seniors, have led to the success of our team this year.

When I think about each of our seniors separately, I realize why this group is so special. Each one contributes in their own way. We all have different personalities and different things to offer to the team, but the end result is a group of seven players all with the same goal and a passion to win.

Maddie McKinley is the fire and catalyst of our team. We feed off her passion and energy. She has been so vital to our success because of her ability to motivate our team.

Keanah Prestridge is our vocal leader. No matter if she's playing or not, she does a great job of making sure everyone is on the same page.

Kailey Kassner motivates by example. She is one of the hardest workers on the team. She always puts in extra work and is always striving to make herself a better player.

Janelle Valle also has consistently put in extra work. She is an unselfish player and just wants to do well to help the team win games.

Alex Marshall shows the players around her what it looks like to play hard every time you step on the field. No matter if she is at practice or in a game, Alex gives 100 percent.

Lauren Carley is very consistent in her approach to the game. She does a good job of keeping her emotions very stable, which gives our team some balance when we are emotionally too high or too low.

And then my job is to keep everyone positive and smiling!

Kamri Chester earned the senior favorite award of the weekend when she blasted a solo home run in game two to win the game for us. It was a clutch hit and allowed the senior class to end with a win on our home field! This is something you always hope for as a senior, so I'm glad Kamri could help us out!

Three more games left and this group of seniors along with the rest of the team are ready to put an end to regular season play with a sweep against Southern Mississippi. We have a good week of practice ahead of us, and then we will head to Hattiesburg on Friday. I am anticipating the bus ride to be full of smiles because Thursday marks the end of Finals. There will be no text books or note cards on this bus trip so we should all be stress free and ready to have some fun!

Go Tigers!

Heather Mott #10

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