Written by D.J. Davis
No. 4 Valdosta State softball hosts two doubleheaders this weekend against Gulf South Conference teams, West Alabama and Alabama-Huntsville.
UWA is 23-14 (10-12 GSC) travels to Steel’s Diamond at Blazer’s Park on Saturday before VSU hosts Alabama-Huntsville, 26-11 (17-4 GSC), in its annual Pack the Park doubleheader.
Before before splitting doubleheaders with each team in back-to-back days last month, VSU had won eight straight games against the Tigers and seven straight against UAH Chargers Thomas Macera, VSU head coach, insists his team’s defense is the key.
“We just got to keep trying to play solid ball,” Macera said. “In the games we’ve been losing this year we’ve just been making a few mistakes, and they’ve hurt us this year. We just got to try to play a lot cleaner on defense this weekend and hope for the best.”
Against UWA last season, Morgan Johnson and Courtney Albritton played well toward victories. Johnson batted .333 with five walks, six runs scored, and three runs batted in, while Albritton batted .500 with three walks, seven runs scored, and seven runs batted, including a homerun.
Recently named GSC Pitcher of the Week—after a dominating, complete-game performance against West Florida, Brianna Hancock, also experienced great success against the Tigers in 2012.
Hancock pitched 12.2 innings in three appearances against UWA and allowed just seven hits and three walks for three earned runs while striking out 14 batters.
While the trio’s performance slipped a bit against the challenging Chargers, the three Blazers were still crucial against UAH.
Johnson batted .333 with three walks, three runs scored, and three RBI, and Albritton, once again, wreaked havoc recording eight runs scored, three RBI, and another homer.
Hancock provided a gritty 7.1 innings of baseball while allowing three earned runs on eight hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.
Johnson, Albritton, and Hancock make-up the core of the VSU softball team and will be extremely important to the team’s success in the stretch-run.
“Those are three of the top players on this team,” Macera said. “Your team usually goes as your better players do. They’ve gotta have good games and they’ve gotta be on their games because the team follows. Usually if Albritton’s hitting, everybody’s hitting; Bri’s gotta stay tough in the circle, because she is the oldest pitcher we’ve got. We just have to have good games from them.”
After this weekend, the Blazers only have two more doubleheaders at Steel’s Diamond at Blazer’s Park before the beginning of the GSC Tournament on May 3; VSU has attained the goal they set for themselves before the season, but Hancock has bigger aspirations.
“Our goal before the season was to work together as a team; we are all really new,” Hancock said. “So one of our goals was to work together and work hard, I think we still do that. We’ve gotten to know each other a lot and you can tell on the field that it’s easier to work together. We know how each other play now so it’s just putting that together. I think our team can definitely go to nationals, and win. We have all the talent in the world; we just have to do it together.”
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