MILLEDGEVILLE, GEORGIA — The 2016 Softball season is set to begin and the Georgia Military College (GMC) Softball Team has been working hard to be prepared for the upcoming season. Preparation began as early as the fall where the team familiarized themselves with one another and worked on conditioning and strength training. They also competed in ten scrimmage games in the fall to help analyze where each player would fit best on the team. "During the fall we were able to assess who excels in which type of situations, how my pitchers handle both success and failures and how well they bounce back the next game. We learned that we are going to be able to be aggressive on the bases and have more depth in the field than we have in years past", stated Head Coach Ashley Bunn.
The team's first official practice was January 10th and they had daily practices up until January 23rd which was their first scrimmage game of the spring season. Conditioning and strength training were continued along with these practices as well as regular scrimmages between the players on the team so they can see some live action before the real games start. The Lady Bulldogs are kicking off their season this weekend in the JUCO Kickoff Classic in Clearwater, Florida. "I'm excited. I love this trip and the competition that we get to face while we are down there. We open up our season with 3 teams who are ranked in the NJCAA top 20 pre-season poll. I believe that facing the tougher competition from the get go gives us a good idea of where we stand and also helps us get better before Conference play begins. The girls are excited. For the sophomores they were a part of a team that went down to Florida last year and came back with a 1-6 record, so I know they are eager to get going and erase that memory. For the freshmen, this is the start of their collegiate careers and they are all so competitive and ready to make a difference on this ball team", mentioned Coach Bunn. Some of the toughest competition will be at this tournament and the Bulldogs are looking to improve on their 1-6 record at the event from last season.
Coming into the season the team seems to be a well-rounded bunch where everyone will be able to contribute. They are coming off a season where they set a GMC record for most wins in a single season and the returning players are excited to build on that and improve. Kristen Albright who plays third base and Taylor Little who plays shortstop will be returning to the lineup after suffering season ending injuries last year and are looking to make a big impact.
Kaitlyn Moore is the only sophomore pitcher on the roster and will be one of the leaders of the young pitching staff. She is coming off of a record of 13-8 last season and has been working hard to build on and improve those numbers. The freshman class is one that has a lot of power, speed, and great knowledge of the game. Freshman pitchers Madason Messer and Danielle Downs have played with one another for many years before and bring great chemistry to the pitching staff along with Kaitlyn Moore.
When asked about last years' success and building into this year off of that momentum, Coach Bunn said, "We have talked about last year's success and where we feel this year's team is at compared to that. I have 7 players who returned from last year's team. 7 players who, even though we set the single season record for wins, know that we fell short of what we are truly capable of and who use that memory to fuel their passion for this season. Of those 7, 3 are sure that this will be their final softball season, due to career choices, and have plans to go out BIG! The freshmen and transfer that we have brought in are all winners and carry that mentality with them into each ball game. We have our goals set high and I believe that this year's group can achieve everything they strive for and then some".
Conference play will also be key in their journey to the conference tournament in which the winner represents their region in the National tournament located in St. George, Utah.
The Bulldogs will be looking to lean on the defense, power, and speed to try to improve on their record setting season from last season in route to hopefully represent the conference at the national tournament.