Softball geared up for weekend tournament

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    Kristel Lander

    Confident in its ability to compete with the best, the new BYU women’s softball team will play in Salt Lake on Saturday against Southern Utah, Salt Lake Community College and Weber St.

    It will be the team’s second off-season tournament of the fall.

    “If we play like I know we can play, we will be really competitive and we will do great,” team member Mindy Hanson said.

    History is in the making and excitement is in the air. Fifteen girls have come throughout the United States to create BYU’s first NCAA women’s softball team. The team this year is laying the foundation of BYU softball for years to come. They are beginning fresh — all new players, coaches and equipment.

    Becca Erickson, one of the team’s players, is eager to get on the field.

    “I’m excited. I’m excited for every practice, excited for the competition,” Erickson said. “I’m excited to see what we can pull together as the first softball team at BYU.”

    The team had two wins and two losses at its last tournament, quite an accomplishment considering it had only been together for two weeks. Now, after an additional week of practice, team members feel confident in the abilities of their team.

    “If you saw us play, you wouldn’t know we were a first-year program,” center fielder Liz Smith said. “You wouldn’t believe we’ve only know each other for three weeks. We have a great attitude and a determination to win.”

    The competition this weekend should not be too difficult for BYU. The BYU team beat SU in the last tournament and Weber State only has a club team. SLCC is up in the air because they are a first year program. Smith said she is hoping BYU comes out of the games with three wins.

    “I think we can compete with the best,” Hanson said. “We’re further along than people thought we would be. Everyone underestimates us. We’re going to surprise a lot of people.”

    The team was reminded at the last tournament that it has much work to do before the spring season. Smith, a sophomore from Draper, said the players had a lot of determination and pride on the field, but they need some more work on the fundamental skills of softball.

    Team member Lael Rorie said their four coaches have been really supportive and have taught them a lot in the past three weeks.

    “Our team has lots of tools — good defense, hitting and offense and the best coaches in the world,” she said. “We’re trying to build a good program. I think we’ll be successful.”

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