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2012 Softball Blog #1 -- Senior Jessica Phillips

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Hey everyone, since Heather Mott, now Heather Jones , finally decided to graduate and leave Memphis, I, Jessica Phillips, #22 and senior first baseman, have decided to fill in her position and continue her blog.

Well, it is finally that time of the year again. As the weather is getting colder in Memphis, we are headed as far south as we can to start our season off right. Who would have ever guessed that we would start the season with one of the top three teams in the nation? Definitely not us, but we are headed to Mobile, Ala., to play in the Mardi Gras Invitational and to start our season off with a bang.

Yes, we are starting our year with #3 Alabama, but honestly, your Lady Tigers are ready to play. The day we returned from Christmas break we were ready to play. Now that we have an amazing new coaching staff, things around the diamond are a bit different than they have been in the past. To start, all of the returners are used to coming back to three or four 2-a-days, but that was not the case this year. The first official practice was not scheduled until the day before school started, but that did not stop our girls from getting extra work in in those days before. That early commitment shows the heart these girls have for the game of softball as well as each other. Ever since then, we have worked extremely hard every day at practice, coming in early to work individually or along with another teammate.

Our hard work is not only shown on the field but also in the weight room and during conditioning. We may all look like zombies as we walk into the weight room at 6:30 am one day and 5:30 am another day, but getting stronger is not a problem with this team. We have girls who came in barely being able to squat the bar putting 45-lb plates and more on the bar and two other girls putting 45-lb plates on the bar to bench press. So I do not think lack of strength will be an issue for us this year. I cannot wait to see what our new found strength is going to bring to the field.

I realize we have been practicing and scrimmaging against each other for a month now, but that is against our own players. There is nothing like good, strong competition outside of practice hours that brings out the fighting intensity within an athlete. I am beyond excited to see what this team has to bring to the table. After last year, we are being watched out for more than we have been but I still do not believe other teams and coaches are truly prepared for what we will be bringing onto the field this 2012 season. I believe this team, as a whole, is one of the hardest working teams I have ever played with, and I would not change anything about this team. We are a family, through and through, and I cannot wait for all of you to come out and watch us play our hearts out until the end, preferably in Oklahoma City!!



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

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

2011 Softball Blog #8 -- Senior Heather Mott

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It's hard to believe we are approaching the end of regular season play. We have accomplished so much already this year, yet still are looking to accomplish even more. We had a record breaking start to the season, now we are ready to have a record breaking ending. This team has been "the first" on so many accounts, but the one account we want more than any is to be the first to go to the NCAA tournament. With seven games left in regular season play, we will soon get our shot at once again rewriting the record books!

Earlier in the month, Tulsa gave us bit of a headache and swept us on our home field. Fact or Fiction: Tigers are very territorial and seek revenge when an enemy invades their territory. I will have to check with the Discovery Channel, but judging by the way our team has responded to the Tulsa series, I'm thinking this is a fact! Ever since the Tulsa invasion, we have had great performances from every aspect of the game. It's almost as if we are operating in a "Refuse to Lose" gear. It's a pretty good gear to be in at this point in the season, so I don't see us switching gears anytime soon!

Last week we headed to Little Rock to face SEC opponent Arkansas. Arkansas joined Kentucky in our list of SEC wins. This game is becoming a tradition between our schools. The location of the contest is labeled as "neutral". Not sure if I fully agree as 99 percent of the fans were dressed in maroon and white. We did have at least one fan dressed in royal that I remember seeing. He stuck out like a sore thumb. It was Lauren Carley's boyfriend who is from the Little Rock area. Hopefully, we will start accumulating more and more fans every year. We did some great things that game but two things in particular stick out in my mind. The first, Jessica (Phillips) did a little re-writing of the record books of her own and became the single-season homerun leader. This is a great accomplishment for a player who deserves it! Second, Kamri (Chester) made two of the best plays in the outfield that I have ever seen. She stole back-to-back homeruns by showing off her speed and crashing through the temporary fence. These were big plays because it prevented Arkansas from gaining any life.

It's the last week of classes. Wednesday marks the end of the semester with Thursday reserved for study day and Friday starting Finals. Aside from the stress of Finals, it's an exciting time during the season as we will soon have nothing to study for and all our focus will be shifted to softball. I take pride in being a Student-Athlete but I am counting down the days when I can finish out the season as just an Athlete!

We have a mid-week game against UT-Martin and then take on UAB this weekend. It should be a fun weekend as many friends and families will be in town for Senior Day. Looking forward to another great week!

Go Tigers!

Heather Mott #10

2011 Softball Blog #7 -- Senior Heather Mott

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One word to describe this weekend: " %#!$@&*^%$*#@%*&^$!" I think I will keep my translation to myself and let you translate any way you wish!

However, as long as we have another game left, we still have life. I can't help but to think back to last year when we knocked out Tulsa from the conference tournament after losing the regular season series to them. I know this is a new year, but it shows how quickly things can change in postseason. If we face them again in the conference tournament, the tradition will remain the same. Everything builds up to one weekend with every team playing their best hand. All games up to that point seem to fly out the window. All records reset to 0-0 and you earn every game you get. With that being said, we got pushed down and maybe a black eye this weekend, but we are jumping back up and continuing the fight.

In our postgame chat, we talked about keeping the Tulsa weekend in perspective. We talked about how we can't let the high points of our season get so high and the low points get so low that we forget about our ultimate goal. This is definitely on the low end of the spectrum, but what we take from it is what really matters. There is no point looking back and dwelling on what we did wrong but taking those things and finding ways to do them better. This approach allows us to pinpoint our weaknesses and enables us to continue to grow as a team. We are only defeated when we stop growing. Getting swept by Tulsa says nothing about how good of a team we are. In fact, it implies a false perception of our team. We are better than what we showed this weekend, and we are determined to prove that. We have good stretch of midweek games coming up that will provide an opportunity for us to get some swagger back and get some momentum going into the next couple conference series.

Wednesday we face Alabama State and are looking to add 2 W's to our home turf record. Then we travel to Marshall and take the thunder out of the Herd! Excited for a new week and a new challenge!

Go Tigers!

Heather Mott #10

2011 Softball Blog #6 -- Senior Heather Mott

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March 27, 2011

Quote of the weekend came from Janelle after completing our first conference sweep of the season over UTEP. "We just did some Spring cleaning this weekend!" And that's exactly what we did. Swept 'em up and cleaned 'em up!

Great weekend! A conference sweep is always fun to accomplish, but when you sweep a team on its home turf it is even more fun! Coming into the series, we knew UTEP had been struggling and had no real momentum going into the games. Our motto for the weekend: "Kick 'em while their down!"

All aspects of the game this weekend were solid, but the one aspect that stood out above the rest was our offense. To say our bats got hot this weekend is an understatement. We were on fire! We got hits from top to bottom in our line-up. This is what we need to do to be champions. To have so many players contributing at the plate and seeing the ball so well at the same point in the season is rare. However, this team is everything but normal. There has been something special about this team from day 1, so it's no surprise that we are continuing to get better individually and as a team with every passing week. With continued growth and focus we will be right where we need to be when May comes around.

Game 1 ended up being the closest contest all weekend. After a 5-3 win in game 1, we outscored UTEP in the remaining two games 28-9. Jessica (Phillips) and Maddie (McKinley) accounted for 50% of our runs by combining for 14 RBI's in games 2 and 3! If that's not impressive enough, they also combined for 5 of the 8 home runs that we hit this weekend!

My favorite part of the weekend was how game 3 ended. Before the game, the coaches and umpires agreed that game 3 would have a drop dead time of 2:30, so we would have plenty of time to catch our flight back to Memphis. With about two minutes left in the game, Jessica stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. She smoked a home run and ended the game with a grand slam! I don't know a better way to end any game!

It's amazing the kind of influence one aspect of the game has on the others. Our pitching staff was in "Pitcher's Heaven" with the kind of run support our hitters gave this weekend. All our pitchers seemed relaxed and confident on the mound and were solid all weekend. As a result of our pitcher's doing their job, our defense remained confident and produced outs. When all three aspects of the game link together and catch fire from one another as they did this weekend, success is evident.

Next victim: Tulsa. This week we will prepare to win our 3rd conference series of the season. And we will achieve this at home! Spring is officially here. Typically that means warmer weather and allergies. But to us, Spring means hot hitters, dominating pitchers, perfect defense, and a CUSA championship ring!

Go Tigers!

Heather Mott #10

2011 Softball Blog #5 -- Senior Heather Mott

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March 21, 2011

This week marks the half-way point of the season and a perfect time for us to start catching fire! So much of a team's success depends on their ability to peek at the right time in the season. We are starting to figure out some things with our swings and working on the adjustments we need to make to be consistently successful at the plate. Once a week, we sit down with Coach Nick on an individual basis and review film of our at bats from the previous week's games. Although I strongly dislike how slow motion has a way of revealing just about every flaw in your swing, it helps to see what you're doing wrong and gives you a focus for the upcoming week. The coaching staff has told us from day 1 that this is a process and continues to encourage us to trust the process. We continue the journey and continue to trust that the work we have put in this far will pay off in the end. I am excited to see what the second half of the season will bring!

St. Patrick's Day was this past week and we celebrated with a very GREEN St. Patrick's Day Practice. Instead of wearing our practice uniforms, Coach Thees told us to wear something green. If someone failed to do so, the punishment was to get a bucket full of tennis balls thrown at them! Fortunately, everyone showed up to practice in something green and we all escaped Coach's St. Patty's Punishment! We ended practice with a competitive game of "non-contact" football. Non-contact=healthy players! I like that! The girls who wore green t-shirts were on one team and the girls who wore green accents (hand band, ribbon, socks, etc.) were on the other. The green shirts pulled ahead early but the green accents came back at the end to take the victory. It was a fun practice, while still keeping the competitive fire!

In our first home series against Houston, we struggled on Saturday but came out Sunday ready to play. We remained a step behind Houston all day Saturday and could never catch fire to put enough runs on the board. However, one thing we did really well was turning the page from Saturday to Sunday. We knew we didn't play to the best of our ability on Saturday, so our goal for Sunday was to get our confidence back and play for pride. We didn't win the series but the adjustments we made from day 1 to day 2 were a success and showed us we can bounce back from adversity. Small bumps like this will only motivate us to become a better team.

This weekend we travel to El Paso, Texas, to take on UTEP. Everything up to this point in the season doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what we do from here on out. We are eager to start the second half of the season with a series win over UTEP and finish out the rest of the season strong!

Go Tigers!

Heather Mott #10

2011 Softball Blog #4 -- Senior Heather Mott

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March 13, 2011

Motto of the weekend: "Make the Pirates walk the plank!"

We did just that in the opening weekend of Conference play as we won the series against ECU. All season we have been talking about pulling together and winning games in a full team effort. This weekend was one of the best all-around team efforts we have had thus far. Not only did we have stellar pitching performances, but our defense was solid and our hitters won the battle in games 2 and 3 by making timely adjustments against one of the top pitchers in CUSA.

ECU sparked a fire in us without even knowing it before game 1 even started. After introducing the starting line-up, we all toed the 3rd base foul line only to watch a highlight video of ECU winning the 2010 conference championship. We were already fired up to win the series prior to this, but afterwards we were fired up to make a statement: It's 2011, and it's our year! Out with the old, in with the new!

We failed the first game to get runners on and score any runs. The Pirates came up with a few timely hits and were able to push enough runs across the board to take the win. Tough loss but we knew we weren't out. We talked about the adjustments we needed to make at the plate and we were ready to come out the second game with a new mind set.

In games 2 and 3, our bats came back to life. Jessica (Phillips) and Ashleigh (King) were our clutch hitters this weekend as they both picked up a pair of RBI's. They combined for all 4 of our RBI's this weekend. It's good to see not only an upperclassman but a freshman step up for us and get the job done! This depth in our hitting line-up will win a lot of games for us.

As expected, Game 3 was a nail-biter. With no surprise, their ace who shut us down in Game 1 was back on the mound. We matched her up with our senior secret weapon Janelle "Nelly" Valle! As a ritual before every Valle start, the infield huddled and opened play with a loud and proud, "It's Nelly time!" Our weapon was loaded and ready to fire! Janelle owned ECU's hitters as she threw an impressive 1-hitter. Senior leader Maddie (McKinley) was the spark that proved to be the game winning run. She smoked a triple to put herself in scoring position for Jessica (Phillips) to once again step up for us and pick up the RBI. Although this is all we needed to take the win, we continued to collect hits off of ECU. In Game 3 we tallied 5 hits. We collected more hits in this game alone, than we have in the past 3 games combined!

This week we take on Mississippi Valley State at home and then gear up for our first home series against Houston. After being on the road for the past 5 weeks, we are eager to get back on our own turf and win some games at home! I think the girls would agree that it will feel good to be back in our own beds for a couple of weeks, as well! Hotel beds get old pretty quick! Looking forward to "Taking It to the Jungle" this week!

Go Tigers!

Heather Mott #10

2011 Softball Blog #3 -- Senior Heather Mott

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We closed out our 4-week tournament stretch in Starkville, Mississippi in the Bulldog Classic hosted by Mississippi State. Once again, bad weather came through the area and interfered with game times. Every player enjoys the occasional PRACTICE rainout, but a GAME DAY rainout just makes you mad!

Friday and Saturday games were both canceled. We arrived to the field on Friday and started our usual warm-up routine, but had to run for cover two stretches before our warm-up was complete. A few of us entertained ourselves with a game of hacky-sac. Coach Thees and Julie got into the action but Nick wanted nothing to do with it! They canceled the game shortly after, so we loaded up the bus and headed back to the hotel. However, one positive thing that did come from the day was that Coach Thees took us to a steak house for dinner. It was Jay's (our manager) birthday so we celebrated on Coach's tab. I'm not sure what it is, but it seems like dinner always taste so much better when Coach pays!

On Saturday, we once again attempted to get our games in, but the weather was worse than it was the previous day. We actually got through our whole warm-up this time, but no such luck with playing the game. We went to plan B: 6 pm game time. Our thought was that the weather would pass over by then and we would be able to get the field playable. Again, no such luck. We arrived to a down pour of cats and dogs! Mississippi State's field is well designed with a great drainage system, but the outfield looked to have reached its limit. In an effort to keep all players injury free, the coaches decided to call off the game and hope that Sunday would bring better weather. We once again found ourselves back on the bus and back at the hotel.

Our hotel was located in West Point, Mississippi, which is probably the worst city to stay in during a rainout due to the very limited options for entertainment. Thank goodness our hotel was located right across from West Point's lone Wal-Mart and a Mossy Oak, that Jay was the most excited about!

Sunday came and the weather left...finally! We faced Texas A&M and Mississippi Valley State. The stars of the tournament were without a doubt Janelle (Valle) and Carly (Hummel) who both threw incredible games for us. Both of them broke their season high record in strikeouts. Carly dominated the Texas A&M hitters, but our hitters were not able to put a run on the board. In game two, we put the ball in play a little more and made Mississippi Valley make errors. Janelle kept their hitters off balance and never gave them a chance to score more than one run.

This week we head to the Carolina's. North Carolina is up first then we start conference play at East Carolina. I am personally extremely excited to get into conference play! It's the start of a new chapter in the season and a chance to move up in the C-USA ranks.

Go Tigers!

Heather Mott #10

2011 Softball Blog #2 -- Senior Heather Mott

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Back to Memphis and back to work. We leave the beautiful state of California with 3 wins, new goals, a renewed focus and another nationally ranked carcass to add to our resume.

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.

Go Tigers!

Heather Mott #10

2011 Softball Blog #1 -- Senior Heather Mott

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The Tigers are back in action and off to a great start! With high expectations on the year, we are focused and ready to have a record breaking season!

We are only 11 games into the season, but there are already glimpses of our team accomplishing something that we have never done before. So far this season, we have been the first Memphis squad to beat a nationally ranked team, gave Coach Thees her 300th career win and have had the best start in school history. We take pride in each one of these accomplishments, but our eyes are set on something even bigger. We want to be the first team in Memphis softball history to compete in the NCAA tournament. With continued focus, hard work and a "never settle" attitude, we will stay on track to achieve our goal.

We have had many good things come out of our games so far. I feel like we are playing with a lot of confidence and just finding ways to win games. It hasn't always been pretty, and we've given our fans a couple nail-biting thrillers, but the biggest thing is that we are not giving into opponents. It shows some grit and passion in our team.

Although a 9-2 record is a great start for any team, we have a long road ahead of us. We have some things we need to work on and perfect before we can reach our full potential. We had one practice this week and our 1st and 3rd play was a big focus. About an hour and a few punishment foul poles later, we started to get the hang of it! :) Little things like this will separate us from average teams and allow us to successfully put runners in scoring position for our hitters.

We have made it to Palo Alto, Calif., and are ready to compete in the Stanford Nike Invitational. We have a tough four games ahead of us, but we are excited to make a showing in the West Coast. This is where we see what our team is really made of. We get a shot at another nationally ranked team in Stanford. It should be an exciting weekend and an opportunity to earn ourselves some respect. To top it all off, the Nike bats are back! We got them thrown out last weekend because they are not properly stamped, but we got the approval, and they are back in business!

This weekend brings big smiles to four Tigers in particular. Native Californians Janelle (Valle), Carly (Hummel), Nikki (Moreno), and Lani (Bernardino) all get to play in their home state and in front of their family and friends. It is always exciting to compete in your home state for any player!

California Pizza Kitchen last night! We will fuel our bodies, rest up and prepare ourselves to add a couple more "W's" to our collection!

Go Tigers!

Heather Mott #10

2010 Softball Blog #9 -- Junior Heather Mott

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First team party at Coach's house. Two-a-days. Dreadful prowlers. Sweating. Fatigue. Team competitions. Discipline. Morning workouts. Road trips.

2010 Softball Blog #8 -- Junior Heather Mott

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Tough three games this weekend. Timely hits and solid pitching performances by East Carolina proved to be enough to steal three games from us this weekend. We didn't go down without a fight, though. We had some good at bats and recorded several good hits, but couldn't quite figure out how to push runs across the board when we needed to.

2010 Softball Blog #7 -- Junior Heather Mott

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Over half way done with the season, and our goal hasn't change. It's at this point in the season when the fatigue starts to set in and the true competitor comes out. The team that keeps pushing and perseveres will be titled, "Champion".  This team is a team of champions; now we got to prove it!

Hokay so....this is Nicole and Kailey.  This is how our weekend went.  We played some games, Lauren got NAILED in the face, and Heather Mott lost a tooth.  If you would like to learn more, keep reading.

2010 Softball Blog #5 -- Junior Kim Sirman

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Hey Tiger fans!! This is Kim Sirman and I volunteered to write our softball blog for this weekend! Well things started off a little rough for me the morning we had to get up to head to the airport at 6 a.m. for our tournament! Turns out my alarm didn't go off, and I woke up to a call from Janelle asking where I was because the bus was about to leave! Well, I jumped out of bed, grabbed my things and ran to my car because I had to meet them at the airport so I wouldn't miss the flight, and thankfully I made it in time! The girls joked and made fun of me for a while, and now they know to call me to make sure I'm up next time, but I was just glad to have made it there and ready for what seemed to be an already interesting weekend.

2010 Softball Blog #4 -- Junior Heather Mott

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Great win today! All around team effort, utilizing every aspect of the game. Another solid pitching performance, clutch hits, awesome defense (minus my error), bunting in key situations, throwing out runners, and NEVER GIVING IN!

2010 Softball Blog #3 -- Junior Heather Mott

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We couldn't have asked for better pitching performances from our pitchers today. Vanessa, Lauren, and Carly combined for 13 K's and delivered solid performances.

2010 Softball Blog #2 -- Junior Heather Mott

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Quote of the day came from Maddie (in her good ole' country Chickamauga accent) as we circled up to pray before the start of Game #1. "Dear God, please prepare Wichita for a buuuuutt whippin'!" It was priceless!

2010 Softball Blog #1 -- Junior Heather Mott

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The time has finally come! We are ready to kick off the 2010 season with a few victories in Shreveport, La. All the hard work, long practices, sweat, pain and fatigue will all pay off as we start our journey to a Conference USA Championship.

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