Despite having a few inches of snow coat the ground outside at the ETSU Softball Stadium at Betty Basler Field, the Buccaneer softball team still managed to find time to practice inside the MSHA Athletic Center on Thursday.
"This is always an exciting time of year," said head ETSU softball coach Brad Irwin, who is entering his first season at the helm for the Bucs. "The first day of practice signifies that the season is near. We obviously have a lot of work to do before we take the field on Feb. 15, but we are eager to start improving each day at practice. Early on we will hit the fundamentals and basic drills, and hope that we can ramp things up from there as the weeks progress. I know from the fall that this team is willing to work hard, so I look forward to turning up the intensity in preparing for the long and grueling season."
The Bucs return 11 letterwinners from a year ago including senior leaders Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) and Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.). Coach Irwin isn't the only new face for ETSU as assistant coach Andrea Moss begins her stint in Johnson City, while four new players join the Buccaneer softball family.
ETSU has to get to work in a hurry as the Bucs have less than five weeks to prepare for their season opener, which is Tuesday, Feb. 15 at Tennessee. The Bucs return home for the first time in 2011 on Friday, March 11, when ETSU hosts the inaugural Buccaneer Challenge.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com.