Racers picked third

Kalli Bubb/The News
Freshman outfielder, Leah Kesel scores a run during a fall game.Kalli Bubb/The News Freshman outfielder, Leah Kesel scores a run during a fall game.

Story by John Morris, Staff writer

Kalli Bubb/The News A Murray State softball player runs to first base after hitting the ball in a game this fall.

Kalli Bubb/The News
A Murray State softball player runs to first base after hitting the ball in a game this fall.

Despite finishing 38-19 last season, the Murray State softball team still has something to prove this season.

“Any time you are in athletics, the ultimate goal is to win a championship,” Head Coach Kara Amundson said. “How we get to that point is really what we try to focus on as a team.”
The team finished third in the conference last year with a record of 20-7 to tie the previous OVC record. The Racers were picked third in the OVC preseason poll.  “Really what matters is where we are come May,” Amundson said.  “We do not put too much thought into where we are ranked pre-season.”
Amundson firmly believes the only way things are going to get done is if everyone stays focused.
“We focus as a team, and as individuals, about process over outcome,” Amundson said. “If we are preparing for and focusing on the process, the outcome will hopefully take care of itself.”
Murray State boasted a 14-3 home record last season, but only 11-12 on the road.

This year’s roster includes seven starters from last year’s team, including some recognized talent in junior infielder Maggie Glass, who was named First Team 2015 All-OVC and junior infielder Jessica Twaddle, who was the 2015 OVC’s Player of the Year.
Amundson said the motto this year is “We over me.”

Amundson

Amundson

“The difference in this year’s team is that we are all connected. This team is one big family and has the best team chemistry since I have been here at Murray State,” senior infielder Erica Howard said. “Every single player brings something to the table that we need to win a conference championship and we are all committed to that goal.”

“The Racers finished 7-1 during the fall season. I am proud of how hard this team has worked throughout the fall and even since we have been back after the holidays,” Amundson said. “It can be a grind to work out starting in August and not get to play our first actual game until February.
“But every year you graduate players and have new players in so the dynamic of the team is never the same.  As a coaching staff, we always have to be ready to adjust with that,” Amundson said.

Kalli Bubb/The News Freshman outfielder, Leah Kesel scores a run during a fall game.

Kalli Bubb/The News
Freshman outfielder, Leah Kesel scores a run during a fall game.

Amundson and the staff have committed to making sure the team is cohesive and each class has a part in the expectations and the goals set for the season.

The freshmen and their readiness to compete and start their careers in the program as well as how the seniors are on the mission for the first OVC title, Amundson said.

“My mindset is to be the best team player I can be, no matter what role I may play. I have had many different roles since I have been here; and I take pride in each one of them. That is also what I hope for the rest of my teammates,” Howard said. “I hope to lead my team in that way exactly. I want each person to realize that no matter their role, they are important to this team and to us winning a championship. Being a leader does not always mean making the star plays and getting the winning hit. It is about keeping your teammates focused on a goal and keep working toward that goal.”

The softball team begins their season on Feb. 12 in Kennesaw, Georgia at the Kickoff Classic.