Stronger softball team strives to return to nationals
Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 16:02
22 out of 25. That's the number of years the FSCJ women's softball team has made the playoffs under head coach Jami Lind. This year, they're looking to make that 23 out of 26, and they've gotten off on the right foot after winning six of their first seven games in the JUCO Kickoff Tournament and Showcase in Clearwater. That's a feat the team and Coach Lind are confident they'll achieve after winning the conference in 2011 and adding more talent to the team roster.
"I'm extremely excited and optimistic," said Lind, who was inducted into the Florida College System Activities Association Hall of Fame this past year. "I think we'll have a chance to win the state championship. We're returning the nucleus of the team, but we've added more depth and even more talent."
Returning pitcher Marissa Oldaker echoed that sentiment, adding that team chemistry is as strong as ever. "Honestly, I feel like we don't have any holes," Oldaker remarked. "We have more girls to fill more positions this year. For example, we have six pitchers this year, as opposed to three from last year."
Pitching is looking to be one of the Stars' strong points this year. In addition to adding depth, the three primary pitchers last season had an earned run average under 2.00. Doubling the pitching staff allows their pitchers to rest more and preserve their arm strength, which usually leads to even better pitching.
The offense is nothing to be taken lightly, either. The team had a batting average of .329 last year, and have shown that that they're not going to let up at the plate in the early games of the season. During the three day JUCO Kickoff Tournament and Showcase from Jan. 27-29, the team scored more than 10 runs in a game twice, and averaged 7 runs per game. Coupled with the fact that they didn't allow more than 2 runs a game during their 48-win season last year, the Stars should enjoy an offensive advantage. This is a team that's confident they'll make nationals this year, and that's not false bravado either.
The Stars were ranked 3rd in Florida and 15th nationally in the National Junior College Athletics Association's Division I preseason poll. The Stars are a force to be reckoned with and having the all-time winningest coach in the history of the NJCAA at the helm of the team doesn't hurt, either.
The Stars play their home games at Howard Roey Field at North Campus, and their next home game will be on Sat., Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. against Brevard Community College. The team's schedule can be found at http://www.fscj.edu/mydegree/athletics/womens-softball.