Softball Team Readies for Next Season

Trey Washington, Staff Writer

This past season for the Lady Lion softball team was a season full of new experiences after making the NCAA Tournament last season according to the team’s head coach Richie Bruister. The team finished 37-19, not bad for a program only in its second year and with just one senior on its roster.  “Last year’s team was young but their competitive spirit and toughness is what helped us win games last season,” Bruister said.  This upcoming season the Lady Lions bring back 13 players from last year’s roster.  Four are seniors and eight are juniors, so this team has the experience and the depth to do something special this season.

The team has been selected to play in the NFCA Division II Leadoff Classic to open the 2017 season February 10 through February 12.  Coach Bruister had this to say on his team being selected to play in the Leadoff Classic, “It is a great honor being recognized as one of the top 24 teams in the country; this is a great way for our program to stay in the national conversation and will help our program climb to the top in Division II. It also is a great experience for our team to get to compete against some of the other top teams in the country, the competition level of this tournament will help us prevail in conference play this season; that is where we struggled at last season.”  

The team started practicing and training for the upcoming season the first week of September. “This season’s expectations are really high for our team especially after having so much success last season,” Captain Baylea Higgins said. Baylea looks forward to the opportunity to play in the Leadoff Classic. “I am really excited and grateful for the opportunity to play in the Leadoff Classic in Florida. It’s an amazing opportunity to be chosen considering how young our team is. Hopefully now that we’ve been invited it becomes an annual event.”

“The team is anxious and excited for this opportunity to play in the Leadoff Classic. It’s going to give us a chance to play some the nation’s best teams in Division II and also see how we matchup against those top teams,” Co-captain Cherie Jackson said.

Bringing back 13 players from last year’s team definitely adds a level of experience to this year’s team, experience that they didn’t have last season. The stage is set as the team prepares for their 2017 campaign in hopes to win the 24-team invite-only tournament as well as reaching the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season.