JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 16, 2013) – With first pitch less than a month away, the ETSU softball team reported to Betty Basler Field over the weekend for its first practice to start what hopes to be a successful 2013 campaign.
In total, 21 Buccaneers – seven freshmen, seven sophomores, three juniors and four seniors – make up the 2013 squad, and the majority of them hit practice field for the first time since mid-October on Saturday, much to the delight of sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 60's. Sunday followed with more of the same, before rain on Monday and Tuesday moved practice to the cages inside the MSHA Athletic Center.
"We are all excited to be back and get started," ETSU head coach Brad Irwin said. "We were very fortunate to have tremendous weather on Saturday and Sunday, which gave everybody a little extra excitement. Saturday, we knocked some of the rust off and focused on the fundamentals. On Sunday, we were able to scrimmage, and there is never any substitute for facing live pitching.
"Monday and Tuesday we moved inside and got some good swings in the cage. Our pitchers were able to throw their bullpen sessions and work on what needs to be worked on.
"Overall, I was very impressed with the condition the girls came back in. By far, it was the best I've seen in my three years at ETSU. Not only was the physical strength up, but the softball skills were there too. We have a lot to get done with only three and a half weeks until the start of the season, so the girls coming back in good form allows us to jump right into things and not start out slow."
To be precise, the 2013 season will begin 27 days from the Bucs' first practice. On Friday, Feb. 8, ETSU will be in Auburn, Ala., for the Plainsmen Invite, beginning the season with none other than 2012 NCAA Regional participant, Auburn.
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