written by: Eric Jackson
They’re good. Everyone knows they’re good−and this weekend we’ll see how good.
No. 6 Valdosta State awaits a true evaluation of its caliber in the upcoming Eckerd Tournament this weekend in Clearwater, Fla.
Several new players, like freshmen starters catcher Morgan Buter and second basemen Chelsea Canara, will receive their first dose of fierce, competitive tournament play.
“I think it’s going to be a real challenge for us,” sophomore first basemen Kiley Rusen said.
The Blazers open against Rollins College on Friday, playing games against No. 13 Tampa and Florida Southern Saturday, and on Sunday VSU concludes with Palm Beach Atlantic and Nova Southeastern.
VSU’s last opponent, Flagler, fellow Gulf South Conference members Lee, West Florida and Shorter, Linderwood, Colorado Christian, host Eckerd College and Armstrong Atlantic (who sent the Blazers home in the NCAA tournament), will also be competing this weekend.
UT will likely start pitcher Katie Cox on Saturday; the Darktronics Player of the Year recipient is known as one of the best in the nation. FSC opens its 2014 season this weekend.
PBAU also opens its season this weekend and are the Blazers first game of their last doubleheader. VSU’s final matchup is against NSU. The last meeting was in 2012, when the Blazers swept the Sharks in a doubleheader.
As usual, the Eckerd Tournament is held at Eddie C. Moore Complex, Clearwater’s national award-winning softball facility.
“We’ve played six games and we got five big ones this weekend,” Macera said. “We’re playing some really good teams down there. We got to work this week and hopefully it pays off.”