April 1, 2013
From the words of LL Cool J "Don't call it a comeback!" However, that's exactly what we have been doing for the past couple of weeks. We started off with a 3-2 loss to Minnesota in the Sunshine Classic tournament. While we out-hit the Gophers we suffered the loss due to their better situational hitting. I think the most frustrating thing about that loss was the fact that it ended our winning streak. Thankfully, due to the nature of our team we seem to not let things keep us down. We came out strong against Georgia Southern the following afternoon and were ready for our rematch with Ga. Southern and Minnesota on Sunday.
Nerves were subdued and we came to conquer. We ended up beating Minnesota 4-3 then run-ruling Ga. Southern ending our week on a high note. Sometimes losing to teams makes the win feel that much better. Don't get me wrong we would love to win them all but as you know that's not how the game goes.
We were excited for the high that we were on going into Auburn. We have not been so successful against Auburn in the past so we were hoping that the game would continue to go our way for our mid-week game. Thankfully we got Coach Alameda her first win against Auburn. It felt even better with it being at their place. Monica pitched a great game holding them down for five innings then Lacey came in dominating them with her drop balls and off-speed pitches. Along with great pitching came great hitting with rookie Victoria East aka Vic or East going 3 for 3 with an awesome home run. Kelly Hensley also dropped a bomb keeping her standing with the home run competition between her and Courtney Senas. Courtney is currently ahead, the score is 12-11. Little do they know, I've been planning on making a run for it later in the season, I'm simply just waiting for the opportune time.
We ended up beating the Auburn Tigers 6-3. They tried to make a run for it but thanks to Lacey they were shut down. This was great momentum to lead us into one of our big rival ACC series against UNC.
The weather outside was frightful but there was no fire and the 3 hour long rain delay was far from delightful. It was anything but fun seeing as how we moved the originally 12 pm game to 9 am. Although it was gloomy and grey we came out strong against UNC's number 1 pitcher Lori Spingola; unfortunately, not strong enough. While we hit the ball we didn't capitalize on key situations ultimately leaving a total of 15 runners on base. So we ended up coming up short losing the game 5-4.
We played our doubleheader on Sunday due to the rain and came back with a vengeance. We came back Sunday with our bats on fire. We ended up run ruling the Tar Heels 9-1 to start the day ensuring that we would need to play the last game. Lacey definitely came through in the clutch for us in the circle that weekend. She consistently kept them off balance and at the plate we took advantage of scoring situations. Losses hurt and I'm pretty sure no one likes to lose and coming back from a loss is probably harder than losing. For us dealing with adversity and coming back to take the series gave us the confidence we needed to head down to Gainesville, Florida to face our state rival UF.
Lacey started the Florida game the way she ended the UNC series, keeping them off balance and fooling them with her off-speed pitches. She threw an amazing game piling up a total of 18 strikeouts against the third ranked team in the nation. We capitalized on Hannah Rogers' walks, missed pitches and passed balls to score 3 in the top of the 4th inning. We held the Gators 3-1 until the 7th inning with 2 outs. After some bases were juiced due to walks we overthrew the ball resulting in the Gators tying the game up making it 3-3 in the 7th. Monica then came in to relieve Lacey getting us out of the inning and back in to try to score. Unfortunately we didn't score in our opportunity and when they Gators had their turn at offense they capitalized. THAT HURT!
I've been playing softball for quite some time and there are games that I will always remember good and bad and that is definitely one that will be in my memory forever. Going on the emotional roller coaster feeling like we had the game won then watching it slip out of our fingers. At the time I had no words. I wanted to fall out and cry. Losing big games like that in the way that we lost it was a hard pill to swallow. That pill was lodged in my throat for a good day or two and when it finally did break down and I finished swallowing the loss I realized yet another life lesson that softball teaches. I sat back and thought about the fact that losing to Florida won't be the only thing that hurts me, that won't be the last thing I lose, we as a team and as individuals are going to fail, it's inevitable, especially in this game. Yet on the field or off the field we are going to have to get back up. I personally like to look up biographies of successful people like Oprah or Donald Trump and in every biography of any successful person I have researched I have found that it was never an easy road. I learned that Donald Trump filed for bankruptcy eight times, EIGHT! I'm using him as an example to emphasize, not the results of failure, but the results of getting back up and trying again, and again... and again.
No matter how painful the fall, no matter how close we thought we were, no matter the situation, we have to continue to get back up. I think as we get older and wiser we understand more and more that without failure and hard work the victory just isn't as sweet. "You can't appreciate the sunny days without a few rainy ones." - I don't know who said that but I saw it and I liked it, I hope you like it as well. Thankfully we get another shot at Florida on April 17th when they come to our place. I, as well as my team, am hopeful for the taste of sweet victory.
Scorched by the Florida game we headed to Maryland for another ACC series. We ended up losing the first game the same we did the Florida game. We scored 4 runs early in the game and went into the 7th inning with a 4-1 lead, 2 outs and we couldn't seem to finish. Monica pitched a great game holding the Terps down until the 7th. In our relief pitching a walk-off passed ball highlighted the comeback for the Terps. Once again we watched the game slip through our fingers. We had control of the outcome and we gave it away. After another hard loss we had another comeback weekend. We took the second game of the doubleheader run-ruling the Terps 13-1 ready for the matchup on Sunday. We came out swinging scoring at least 1 run every inning. It was 13-3 in the 5 and the Terps tried to make a run for it scoring 5 making it 13-8. We scored 1 more run before the game was over. Nori and Bailey finished shutting the Terps down making sure that we took home the series.
We face LSU in a doubleheader this Wednesday at 5 and 7 in Tallahassee. It's Military Appreciation Night and we can't wait to honor those who have fought and continue to fight for our great nation!