Tales from the Diamond No. 8

WINCHESTER, Va. - As part of our "Friday Feature" series, it is time for another edition of Tales From the Diamond, the life and times of the SU softball team.

Ed. Note: This week's blog deals with the Hornets and their Spring Break 2012 adventures...

While everyone packed their bags and headed for the beach this week, we prepared for a week of games, two-a-days, and a lot of team bonding! After our Salisbury Tournament, coach gave us off until Monday at 4, so we did have a bit of time off, but our main focus was on winning games. 

After a normal practice Monday, we played Stevenson on Tuesday. It was a great day! We won the first game 8-0 and the 2nd 10-2, both in 5 innings. On Wednesday, we traveled to Mary Baldwin for our USA South Conference opener. On one of the hottest days of the year, we came out on top with 12-1 and 8-3 victories! Even though we won both, we all thought that Mary Baldwin is definitely going to surprise people this year. They have made a lot of progress since last year!

On Thursday, we had a two-a-day. We began in the morning with hitting groups and after a light lunch at Chick-Fil-A, headed to the field for a practice filled with around-the-worlds that we owed coach along some base running work.

We were dropping like flies. We had multiple injuries in a matter of 45 minutes. It all started with me; I was taking my third ball in the outfield and a line drive hit me in the shin and I was sent to the trainers and instructed not to run for the rest of the day.

Ed. Note: Erica is fine, except for the embarrassment she felt after realizing that the Bridgewater College baseball team saw her taking the ball to the shin. More on that in a minute. ;) 

Maggie Waters, a freshman third baseman, was hit in the knee on a throw down while sliding into second. I just passed my ice pack along to her. Shatora Lane was practicing her diving and put too much weight on her knee causing it to swell up and bruise badly. Lastly, Ashley Woods scraped up her leg pretty bad sliding.

After practice, we headed to the Boys and Girls Club to spend some time with the kids working on homework and playing jump rope games. The plan was to have the kids go outside but unfortunately it began raining shortly after we arrived. After the Boys and Girls Club, we headed to Lauren McCabe's house for team dinner. Her mom and step dad cooked us burgers, Mac and cheese, beans, salad, and even rewarded our hard work with some cookies!

Ed. Note: Coach K was gracious enough to let the team eat the cookies.

Later that night after we got back and washed up, I get to my phone and there's a text message from a high school friend that now plays baseball at Bridgewater.

And what does the text say?

"Was that you that got hit in the shin?"

Embarrassed and caught off-guard, I denied the whole thing and said it was another girl on the team. I even slipped the detail in that it was a difficult ball to catch but she would be okay. He proceeded to tell me that his team was driving by on their bus just as this happened and his whole team "got a good laugh about it before their game" against our own baseball team. He seemed unconvinced that it wasn't me and I ended the conversation quickly by giving my regards for their loss against our baseball squad, haha!

On Friday, we had another two-a-day. We had hitting groups and then lunch, which a number of us enjoyed in the trainers room while being iced or wrapped. After that we went to the field for some position work and full field.

After Denise Mitchell, Brittany Guepe, and Maggie Waters had a great plan for Friday Funday! They decided that we would play capture the flag. Before the game began, assistant coach Ashley Plaugher told everyone not to pick me because on previous Friday Fundays the team I was on always lost. Eventually I got picked and we played best two out of three. We drew a line from home to 2nd to separate sides, a box for jail, a box where the flag was held, and dubbed the grass lava. My team did lose the first game. :(

However, during the second game Shatora and I made a quick break for the flag. Shatora sacrificed herself while I slipped into the safety zone and grabbed the flag. The only hard part was that I still had to make it across. While a few of our "rabbits" (on our team we have bunnies and rabbits, the fast people are rabbits and the slow people are bunnies) distracted the opposing team and I sprinted for my life across the field and got the flag to our side for the game two win!

Unfortunately my team could not pull together to win game three, but this was a fun way to get loose before our games this weekend! Later that night we all went to coach's house for a team dinner of BBQ chicken, salad, and a few other sides. We played a charades game and even got coach into it by the end of the evening!

Saturday was a gorgeous day and we swept Peace, which made it even better. Our motivation group even made St. Patrick's Day ribbons for us all to wear to celebrate the holiday. After that we had a team family dinner in the Aikens Athletic Center conference room. All the parents brought dished and we enjoyed our food and family while watching embarrassing videos of pregame dancing, coach playing charades, and Brittany Guepe doing an impression on "La Sara".

Sunday was another beautiful day as we prepared to play Methodist! When I arrived at the parking lot (Lauren) McCabe, Shatora, and Jordan Wolford were all rapping the song "Gimme the Loop" as it blasted out of McCabe's Jeep. They knew every word and the rest of us circled around laughing and dancing along! Even the Methodist bus driver walked over to watch and complimented them on their talent!

We played two tough games against Methodist but their coach always makes the games a little longer than they should be! Before we even began, he complained of our field and the warm up music being too loud. During the game he called a time and spent 10 minutes complaining about a substitution that he didn't seem to like and our coaching staff ended up having to bring out the rule book. He even complained that us banging on the dugout was distracting to his players. Unfortunately, we fell to Methodist in both games. The losses brought to light many areas of improvement and that the biggest thing we need to work on is our mental toughness. We agreed that two losses were not going to bring us down and that we need more close games like this against good teams! We needed this determination to fuel us for our games against CNU on Tuesday!

Until next time, Go Hornets!