The Murray State softball team has been picked to finish seventh in the Ohio Valley Conference for the 2012 season.
Coach Jay Pyron said he expected the team to place and is not worried.
“I certainly don’t think this is where we are going to finish,” Pyron said. “I think we have shown ourselves that this is the best team we have ever had.”
The last year the team was picked to finish seventh as well but ended the season ranked sixth.
“I just tried to explain to the team that nobody is going to start picking them to finish first, second or third in the league until they start finishing first, second or third in the league,” he said. “If we want that kind of respect we have to earn it.”
This season the team has lost some vital players in its roster, which originally worried Pyron, he said.
“A concern of mine was how we would handle the loss of four starters and a pitcher,” he said. “It was the first time we ever had players graduate. We have lost players before but we never had to deal with losing significant contributors due to graduation.”
Losing key players can be a mental obstacle for the returning players, Pyron said.
“I think there was probably some concern on the players part, like what are we going to do without their production,” he said. “But stepping into the fall it didn’t seem to be a focus for anyone.”
Pyrons concerns turned out unnecessary. The players returned
this fall a more absolute team.
“You didn’t see them missing this fall,” he said. “We were deeper, more complete and better in almost every area in spite of losing the two best players in the league. It says a lot about how hard the returning players have worked to improve themselves and what the new players have done to be able to step in and fill some of those faces.”
This year Pyron said for the first time he has a complete, experienced team.
“Our recruiting, being in our third year, we are now at the point where we don’t have any glaring holes or weaknesses,” he said. “We are complete as a unit and we have depth at positions for the first time.”
Senior left fielder Megan Glosser agreed.
“This is the first year we have had multiple girls who can play multiple positions,” she said. “If one girl is not getting the job done someone else can step in and do the job just as well.”
Fellow senior softball player, Chelsey Sullivan said she is impressed with this team’s work ethic.
“Every workout we have everyone is cheering on and being positive,” she said. “We get a lot done.”
The players are confident about this season and are ready to prove that they are better than seventh place.
“We know that we are better than seventh and we will be,” said Sullivan.
Softball play begins at the Dickey’s Barbeque Pit Invitational on Feb. 18 against Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss.