I have to begin this posting by simply saying that I am excited beyond words for Friday to hurry up and get here. For me, it really is not about winning or losing this year, but rather seeing this extremely young team build chemistry and reach their full potential over time! There is no doubt in my mind that this team is capable of making it to Oklahoma City for four straight years, but they are going to be tested and be forced grow up quick playing in the mean ole’ SEC!
When I arrived at today’a practice, I noticed that there were some people up in the media booth testing out some of the stadium sound and video features with the new LED video scoreboard. Luckily, I was able to catch an early glimpse of just about all of the features that this state-of-the-art beauty has to offer: HD video replay capability, visual roster/line-up, HD large player photos, video animation for strikeouts, homers, stolen bases, hits, etc., visual LED spread charts for hitters’ previous at-bats, music, time, and many other features! Perhaps the best feature of all is that the new board tracks each and every pitch’s speed! Awesome! For those of you who have seen the LED board in OKC, it is near identical! I am super excited for everyone to get to see it!
The music on the loudspeaker today during practice was the best it has been in a long time–think Michael Jackson mixed with Spice Girls mixed with 80s Dance tunes mixed with Country mixed with Justin Bieber mixed with Kesha. Yeah, it was that good, haha! The atmosphere in the stadium was different today, as it is coming down to crunch time and you can tell that the dawgs are fired up and ready to play ball. Everyone was making great plays and getting great hits!
After running through some base-running drills, the girls worked on defense and Tess Sito stole the show at second base in the beginning. Lu was hitting the infield grounders and she could not manage to get a single ball past Sito! It was pretty neat to watch the senior and team leader steal the defensive spotlight during the beginning of defensive practice! Cricket has improved so much on third base, and she seems to play a lot better when she wears her GameFace mask or whatever those things are called. She has improved her footwork and if she can work on her side-to-side quickness she is going to be a solid starter at third base. Swafford played some third today too and looked just as good Cricket. I would hate to be Lu having to choose between these two awesome young ladies…
When it came to hitting, all of the girls hit one out of the park today it seems. Geri and Tina were blasting absolute mammoth home runs today during the start of hitting practice. Geri and Tina each sprayed several balls about 250 feet or longer and it was sure fun to watch! Katie Browne must have hit 90% of her balls deep out of the park today and I was extremely impressed. She easily hit the most out today during practice, although Tina and Geri were a very close second. Tess was hitting the ball hard and driving most everything out or up the middle. Niaja impressed me too by hitting some bombs today and some gap shots!
The swings are truly starting to come together and it seems that EVERYONE is hitting the ball hard right now. Even Sam LaZear, a slap hitter, kept her feet planted and drove a ball about 200 feet down the line today but was just foul–she is my favorite athlete by far as of right now to watch. I think she probably has the best hand-eye coordination I have seen in 10 years, haha!
No doubt about it, these bulldogs are ready to bring the intensity to the field and play ball! The atmosphere at practice was stellar today, and the coaches really seem to be having an authentically good time with teaching these girls the way of the former Bulldogs! It is only a little over two days until first pitch, can you believe it? As always Go Dawgs!