Just four games into the season, VSU’s Lady Blazers softball team has already scored 25 runs and has maintained an unblemished record throughout.
The season opened on Feb. 2 with the Gulf Shores Invitational in Alabama. VSU entered the year with 13 new players and just seven returning.
This is the first time head coach Thomas Macera has been in this situation with so many new faces. But even with this new team, VSU was still ranked 22nd in the nation and second in the Gulf South Conference for the preseason.
“I guess some of it is on reputation, but I mean, we got a lot to prove still,” Macera said. “We’re young. It’s a new team, so you got to get out there and win ball games. That’s the bottom line.”
Well, they’re winning games and seem to have bypassed the learning curve a new team usually brings.
The Lady Blazers have already trumped the No. 3 team in the nation, North Georgia, after a 3-2 victory, where Kiley Robb, a sophomore redshirt, sealed the game with a walk-off bomb.
Their most recent performance was a 14-0 clinic they put on Miles College, where Preseason All-GSC pitcher Kasie Johnson threw a one-hitter. Thanks to the run rule, the clinic was cut short in the fifth inning.
VSU’s pitching duo, Johnson and Caylie Van Auken, have started the year out hot. Johnson is No. 3, and Van Auken is No. 4 in the GSC for strikeouts. So far, they’ve combined for 27 strikeouts and haven’t allowed a homerun.
Another player off to a hot start is infielder Dream Aaron, one of the many new additions. She’s already proven to be an instant impact, hitting two homers and five RBIs in seven at bats.
“The biggest difference is that we have the whole team contributing to wins,” Lacey Crandall, catcher and one of the few returning players, said. “After this weekend, it showed that it took the entire team to win all four games. Everyone isn’t expecting the same one or two people to be the hero of the game. All my teammates are producing. That’s a rare and really lucky thing we have going.”
The Lady Blazers look to continue producing like they have been for the entire season, and spectators should expect them to keep rolling.
Macera’s track record speaks for itself—he’s never seen a losing season at VSU since taking over after the 2005 season. His emphasis on hard work to the team may be to thank.
“[We] just have to work hard,” he said. “We don’t claim to be the best. We just claim to outwork everybody. Just got to have that work ethic every day you come in.”
The Lady Blazers don’t play like they’re a new team, and that may be a sign of another successful season.
VSU will hit the road again and see No. 18 Palm Beach Atlantic on Feb. 8 in the NFCA Leadoff Classic at Clearwater, Florida.
This will be the first game between the two since Palm Beach Atlantic knocked the Lady Blazers out of the NCAA Region Tournament in the third round.
Written by Joshua Miller, Social Media Editor. Photo by VSU Athletics.
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