The Murray State softball team will start the spring season in Georgia with five games in three days this weekend, including one against the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs.
During the five-game tournament – the 8th Annual Red and Black Showcase – the Racers will play Coppin State on Friday, Illinois on Saturday, and Winthrop on Saturday and Sunday.
Head Coach Kara Amundson said the team will see all different types of pitches and plenty of speed on the basepaths.
“I’m just ready for us to go out and compete,” Amundson said. “I’m excited to see how well we respond to different talent levels we will be playing against.”
The Racers ended the spring 2014 season at 32-23 overall and 16-9 in the OVC.
Returning this season are eight out of the ten starters for the Racers. Among these are outfielder Mo Ramsey, pitcher CheyAnne Gaskey and infielder Shelbey Miller. Also the Racers will have two OVC All-Newcomer honorees, pitcher Mason Robinson and infielder Jessica Twaddle.
“I feel strong going into this next tournament against Georgia,” Gaskey said. “People always hype games like this up and to me we have played Tennessee and LSU so going into this I just want us to have fun and take care of what we can.”
At this level of the sport, Amundson said there is always room for improvement in the physical aspects of the game, but she said that it is mind over matter at this point.
The players have set goals for the season and she expects them all to exceed those. Amundson believes that the mindset of players is what sets teams apart at the end of the season.
“We work on mental toughness a lot,” Amundson said. “We know they can play. They have the skill. It’s about what kind of mental strength we can bring to the game. Being committed all the time and always having confidence when you are at the Division I level is what it takes if we want to compete at the end of the year.”
After this weekend’s tournament in Athens, Ga., the Racers will go back on the road Feb. 13 through Feb. 15 for the Samford Softball Tournament in Birmingham, Ala.
“It’s my last season,” Gaskey said. “I just want to leave it all on the field.”
Story by Da’Sha Tuck, Staff writer