Written by Aldean Star, Staff Writer
The No. 20 Valdosta State Blazers softball team is more than halfway through the regular season and it is ready to take it up a notch.
Through 24 games this season, the Blazers have tallied up a 17-6-1 record.
VSU opened the year gaining 11 wins against their first 13 opponents this season. Although they also ran into some rough patches, with five of their six losses coming from No. 6 North Alabama and West Florida in away games.
After winning six out of their first seven games, the Blazers hit a slump with a tie against Rollins College and two consecutive losses to North Alabama. The last three losses came later in the season and were results of a sweep by UWF.
The team have also had some bright spots to this point. One was the 500th win by longtime Head Coach Thomas Macera, who is the winningest active coach in Division II softball.
The Blazers lead the Gulf South Conference in home runs (33) while having allowed the least amount of runs. The numbers suggest future improvement in conference play.
“I think right now we just have to keep working,” said pitcher Maci Fletcher. “It’s going to come for us, we have a lot of talent on our team and we have to find that spark that pulls us all together and helps us work together as a team. We have left a lot of players on base needed to connect on some timely hits and just make one more play on defense and a bunch of those games would have gone our way, just a couple of fine-tuned things and we got it.
“We can’t let the past losses affect our upcoming games because the seasons just starting and we have a lot of games left.”
Because the team has only played five home games (which is least in the conference), VSU is in a good position to capitalize on the favorable schedule ahead.
VSU is riding a three game win streak after sweeping West Alabama. The strong week gave the Blazers two honors: Caitlyn Calhoun as Pitcher of the Week and Heather Robinson as GSC Player of the Week. Robinson is the second Blazer to be honored with the award this season. Kiley Rusen, the GSC home run leader with 12, is the other.
The Blazers’ next contest is at home Friday at 4 p.m. against Shorter. The conference foes will also face off in a Saturday doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.
“Come out to our games. We only have three conference series left but we love to have student support,” said Fletcher.