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Aiming high for softball attendance

As the Lady Blazers softball team takes the field against Alabama-Huntsville on Sunday, April 18, an attempt at making history will be in the works, as the students of VSU and athletic department plan to break the softball attendance record of 420 people.
Student-athlete Marc Kaiser has worked diligently with the athletics department and university administration recently to arrange for the largest crowd ever recorded at a Lady Blazers softball game with an event called “Pack the Park,” with strong hopes of building a fan base for one of the most successful athletic teams at VSU.
“If we don’t get that record, we have to build that fan base, we have to get those people who will consistently come back to games and support this team and cheer these girls on to a National Championship,” Kaiser said.
The softball team currently sits at the number two spot in the nation in recent polls, and it is the desire of Kaiser and the athletic department to get the student body and community to take notice of that honor.
“They are really a talented group of young girls,” Kaiser said. “I feel like they deserve a lot more attention than they are getting.”
The night is sure to be an eventful one, as the athletic department plans to give out free T-shirts to the first 50 students at the game and raffle off prizes from Chili’s and Papa John’s in between each inning.
Other events on the night include the Bruster’s “Real Ice Cream” Competition, in which the athletic department will randomly select six participants and the first one to finish two pints of Bruster’s ice cream will receive a free iPod donated by the VSU Tech Shop.
After going 6-1 in the Gulf South Crossover recently, the Lady Blazers are excited for the record breaking attempt and keeping the momentum, but also hope that the people will see through “Pack the Park” just how strong this team is and realize its possibilities in post-season play.
“I think people are excited that someone is trying to get people to come to our games and put VSU softball on the map,” Julia Fink, VSU softball pitcher, said. “I just want the fans to know we’re out there and we’re good.”
Unlike some of the larger sports at VSU, a successful softball team tends to get overlooked, according to Kaiser, but through “Pack the Park” people will hopefully be able to see the hard work of the Lady Blazers turn to fruition.
“I just think it is an important thing for students to show their respect and give it up to the girls’ hard work and their dedication,” Kaiser said. “There are just so many little things that teams do that the student population doesn’t really know about, that they’re up at 6 a.m. lifting weights or they’re at the pool or out running, not even touching a softball, and then they’re out there for two or three hours six days a week [sweating] away on the field.”
As Sunday approaches, Kaiser hopes to break the record, but more than anything his hopes are for the majority of people at the games will become die-hard fans.
“If we get a thousand people that would be great,” Kaiser said, “but if we can keep two to three hundred of those people that just fall in love with the game and fall in love with our girls, and will keep coming back home game after home game and year after year, the whole thing will be a success.”
The double header against the Lady Chargers begins with the first game at 1 p.m. followed by a second game at 3 p.m. at the VSU Softball Field. Students are free of admission with their VSU IDs.

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