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Field of softball dreams

The VSU Lady Blazer softball team is prepared to begin their 2012 campaign towards a national championship and thanks to a promising recruiting class they will have the talent to do so.

No. 6 ranked VSU plays their first game of the season this weekend with a squad that returns seven starters and adds several top tier newcomers.

Four of the seven returning starters were recently honored by being chosen on the preseason All- Gulf South Conference softball team.

The four standouts are all infielders and are all seniors.

Natalia Morozova was picked at the first base position and led the team in RBIs last season. She also has the ability to pitch which she did for the Russian National team; however, she will be strictly at first for the Lady Blazers.

April Hutchens was chosen at the second baseman position in the preseason selection after making it to the second team in 2011

Sam Posey, the leadoff specialist, made the All-GSC first team last season and honors the third base spot.

All-American Marti Littlefield closes out the list unsurprisingly at shortstop.

Littlefield is approaching a couple new milestones including needing just 11 more homers and 49 RBI to set the GSC all-time mark in both categories.

She believes that this particular team can give the seniors on this team the ideal finish to their careers of winning a national championship.

“I feel like this year is our year,” Littlefield said. “We got a lot of potential, we got a lot of young girls and they got a lot spunk. They know the game and are catching on pretty fast.”

Several newcomers will also be expected to come out and make an impact early on.

Freshman catcher Courtney Albritton, a highly ranked recruit, has been given the starting job at her position right off the bat.

The loss of All-American pitcher Holly Satterfield will hurt the rotation however UGA transfer pitcher Alanna Hadley is expected to potentially fill the gap.

Iowa State transfer Erika Trojan, third baseman, has the role of keeping a strong defensive glove at the hot corner while Posey sits out a couple weeks with an ankle injury.

New pitchers freshmen Courtney Gunby and Stetson transfer Abigayle Kohler have been also been brought in to improve the depth in the bullpen.

Head Coach Thomas Macera emphasizes that his skillful seniors aren’t the only ones who will need to play well constantly for VSU to have a successful season.

“I can’t have seven have a great year and win it,” Macera said. “We have to have all ten kids playing well. It’s not tennis, it’s a team sport. If you have a breakdown anywhere on your field, you aren’t going to win in the post season. You can win games but not championships. We need to be clicking on all cylinders.”

The Lady Blazers have won the GSC championship the past three seasons however they haven’t competed for their ultimate goal of a national championship since 2010.

The team that sent VSU home early from the NCAA South Georgia Regionals last season was GSC rivals Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.

The Chargers lost to UC San Diego in the 2011 National Championship game.

The defeat marked the third consecutive year that a GSC team had come up one win short of the gold.

Although UAH was chosen to win the conference again, the defending champs are not in the slightest bit worried.

“They’re probably our best competition that we have in our backyard,” said VSU junior outfielder Morgan Johnson. “We’d love to be first but it puts a big X on your back. It doesn’t matter what you’re ranked at the beginning of the season as long as you’re ranked high at the end of the season”.

Coach Macera is 18 wins shy of becoming VSU’s all-time win ingest softball coach and will inevitably accomplish that milestone this season. The season starts Saturday at the University of West Florida Regional Crossover Tournament in Pensacola, Fla. against Barry. First pitch is at 4 p.m.

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