RedHawks prepare for start of season
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 21:02
The Miami University women’s softball team will begin its season with a new head coach in Clarisa Crowell and a new ace after the departure of Jessica Simpson.
This is Crowell’s first season coaching for the RedHawks and she has only seen the team in a few games during the fall.
Junior pitcher Paige Myers agreed with her new coach saying that Crowell has not seen enough of the team play to learn their tendencies in a game situation. She also feels that if the RedHawks just go out and play their game, they will be able to overcome the transition.
“[This preseason] has been different, for sure, but I think there have been a lot of good changes though we are working hard and we are ready for the season,” Myers said. “I would not think of it as a rebuilding year, I would see it as just another season off of last year.”
Myers is also seeing a change in her role on the team, since she is stepping up to take the place of ace from graduate Simpson, who went 32-15 for the team last season. Myers went 8-2 last year.
“I have learned a lot watching [Simpson] these past few years,” Myers said. “I just feel I am ready to take on the role and our team is ready.”
Crowell feels that they lost a very good pitcher from last season and says Simpson might have been the best pitcher to go through the MAC. With a pitcher of that caliber, Crowell said it can be tough to find a replacement. However, she sees Myers adapting to the role well.
The team’s preparation for the start of the season at the Georgia Tech Classic has been limited because of injuries and weather problems.
“Unfortunately, or maybe this is a good thing, but we have been plagued with injuries this pre-season,” Crowell said. “Our girls are starting to come back and hopefully when it comes time to play the injury bug will be gone and we will be healthy.”
The team has also been forced to spend a lot of its practices indoors because of the cold and wet weather, which has kept the field under snow and water. However, Crowell said the women understand the issues they have been dealing with and are really making the best of it.
“Obviously [stepping up when injuries occur] is a huge responsibility, but at the same time I am willing to take on that role and I want to help out the team in any way possible,” freshman outfielder Taylor Shuey said.
Shuey has felt that the preseason workouts have been tough, but she recognizes that in the long run they help the team get better.
Having the opportunity to go out to Yager Stadium allowed the team to work on different aspects that gym space makes impossible, such as pitching, hitting and defensive work. Yager Stadium also allows the team to scrimmage, which Crowell said is useful even if they are not on the dirt because it helps her get to know the team better.
Even with all the challenges the preseason has presented, Crowell feels the team’s spirits are high. The ’Hawks are excited to have their first game against Indiana University at the Georgia Tech Classic on Fri. Feb 15. They will also be playing Georgia Tech and Marshall University over the weekend.
“They are going make us play, but we are ready to just go down there and show people who we are,” Crowell said. “If we can go and beat an ACC or Big 10 school that would start our season off on a good note.”
Georgia Tech is one of the top teams in the ACC and Marshall is a talented team from Conference USA. Being able to play a Big 10 school like Indiana is another great opportunity, according to Crowell.
“We are the underdogs, and I am just excited to compete against these teams,” Myers said. “Upsets are always fun.”
Crowell feels that the team is ready to get on the road and start playing because that is when the players will figure out their team chemistry.
“I think we are all on the same page and we are all working towards one common goal and that is to compete for a MAC championship,” Crowell said.