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Softball prepares for SBC finale
Brett Medeiros / Staff Writer
The weather is warming, the lawnmowers are firing up and the time to hit the diamond is coming soon.
The Mean Green softball team is gearing up for the first games of the season on Feb. 8 and 9.
Since head coach T.J. Hubbard joined the Mean Green Softball team as an assistant coach in 2003, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns has dominated the Sun Belt Conference in every way.
Every year since 2001, ULL has won both the regular season title and the postseason title, except for in 2007 when Florida Atlantic University controlled the conference.
“I really see us as one of the top three in the Sun Belt right now,” Hubbard said. “Right now it’s probably a tossup between ULL and South Alabama, but with our depth in the pitching circle I feel that long term we can be in a top-three spot.”
For its final season in the SBC, the Mean Green faces a 49-game schedule with games against three top-ten teams and three others ranked in the top 50 of last season’s final rankings.
“I think that the biggest challenge we face is coming together as a team,” senior utility player Lesley Hirsch said. “This year is going to be different. We are focusing more on loving to be here and loving what we get to do every day.”
Caitlin “Curly” Grimes’ leadership at catcher was one of the key components to the team’s makeup the previous two seasons. Though Grimes is still with the team as a volunteer coach, junior Sarah McGann now assumes control of the position.
“Just like in life, you work with everybody a little bit differently,” senior pitcher Brittany Simmons said. “It’s not a stressful transition in any way, but just a new personality, and once you get to know each other, it just flows from there.”
The Mean Green finished last season 28-26 and fell to ULL in the semifinals at the SBC tournament. The team will kick off its season in the University of Texas Tournament against the University of Memphis, Texas and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.