Williams Blog: Beantown!
April 26, 2010 – Beantown!
It’s hard to believe that this past weekend’s series in Boston marked our final trip on the road. It feels like just last week I was frantically packing for the first away series of my college career, and now I’m (slowly but surely) unpacking from my last road trip as a first year! It really is crazy how times flies. Although the trip was a little bittersweet for our fourth years it was definitely a trip full of great games and even better memories I’m sure they wont soon forget.
The trip started out in Richmond Friday afternoon where we all boarded our direct flight into Boston. Once in Boston we loaded up the bus then headed straight to a local restaurant, Papa Razzi’s, (because what’s a UVA softball series without our traditional Italian dinner?!) where we had an AMAZING family style meal. After dinner we got back on the bus and went to the hotel where we all settled in for the night.
Saturday morning after singing Happy Birthday to Kennedy at breakfast everyone was ready to load up the bus and head to the field. But when we walked outside of the hotel the bus was nowhere to be found. Instead, there was only a sweet all-white trolley. We were certain it had to be a joke and there was no way we were really taking a trolley to the field, but when Coach Schmidt came out and asked us all why were hadn’t gotten on yet we, knew she was serious. After a short ride and an epic grand entrance (thanks to our lovely trolley that immediately grabbed everyone’s attention) we arrived at the BC field, warmed up and were ready to start the first game.
The first game was a great showing of how solid our offense can be when everyone works together. We tallied 11 hits on the game five of which were home runs (a new school record!). Two of those homeruns came from Abby who came through in the second and fifth inning. The other three also came in the fifth inning when Pitt hit her first home run EVER, and Alexa and Hawkins hit back-to-back pinch-hit bombs! It was a good game at the plate for a lot of us and the stellar offensive performance in addition to a solid defensive showing that held the Eagles to only one run allowed us to pull out the win in game one.
The second game was another solid performance. We scored our first runs in the second inning thanks to a lead off bomb from Tacke, and then a RBI from Abby who’s bat was still hot from game one. BC answered back this time and in their half of the inning they were able to push one run across. We added a few more runs to our lead the next inning though as Tacke came through again with her second homerun of the game, this one however wasn’t a solo shot as there were two runners on when she hit it. he Eagles attempted to come back again, scoring runs in both the bottom of the third and the fifth innings. But thanks to Tacke’s third home run (another new school record!) in the fifth inning our lead was big enough and we were able to pull out the second win of the day, 6-4.
The excitement from the games carried over into that night in the form of this weekend’s first year first (it might even be a UVA softball first!) which was a trip to infamous Fenway Park for a Boston Red Sox game. After getting back from our games we ate dinner then loaded up the trolley once again, and headed to the local public transit station to take the T to the park. Many of us explored and bought things in the shops in Yawkey Way, ate the great ball park food like New England clam chowder and steak tip sandwiches, an enjoyed the overall great atmosphere that can be found nowhere but Fenway Park. We also learned a few things like never wear a Yankees jersey to a Red Sox game (a huge mistake Hawkins made) because it results in massive amounts of heckling especially from 10-year old boys who are already diehard Red Sox fans. The highlight of the game came in the sixth inning when a message welcoming UVA Softball to Fenway Park appeared on the big screen for everyone to see. Overall it was a great time and it’s a memory that I know I’ll personally enjoy for a long time.
Sunday we played a tough final but in the end we were able to get the win and the sweep for the series. At the completion of the regular seven innings both teams were tied with two runs apiece so we headed into extra innings for the second weekend in a row. Neither team scored in the eighth but then finally we were able to get a rally started in our half of the ninth inning. With Koren, Tacke and G on base thanks to walks and being hit by a pitch, respectively, Clara stepped up to the plate and hit a deep sacrifice fly that allowed Nic to score and Tacke and G to move up on the base paths. That one run lead wasn’t enough though and Alexa pinch hit and pulled out another sacrifice fly that allowed Tacke to score also giving us a solid two run lead. A solid defensive performance in the bottom half of the inning kept the Eagles from coming back .
The trip to Boston was a great one and with the sweep it also put us in a great position going into this weekend’s series against Florida State. It’s hard to believe that we’re finally approaching the last regular season games of this year but we’re all very excited. Although we don’t have a midweek game this week we plan on working hard in practice to stay focused and prepare for this weekend. We’re looking forward to some great games and plan to do everything in our power to make our seniors’ last regular season games at the park great ones! So come out and support us if you can! As always thanks for checking in!
April 19, 2010 – Anthem Buddies
Hey Hoos Fans!
This past weekend we faced off against tough opponent NC State in a key ACC series. The games were packed full of great competition, solid defense and pitching, and of course clutch offensive performances.
Saturday ‘s first game started off with something new and exciting. Each of us was paired up with an “anthem buddy” from the Fluvanna Fireballs youth softball team that accompanied us on the field during the playing of the National Anthem. It was really cool and not only was it a first-year first, it was a team first for the season. The first game was an all out battle. Both teams were tied at one through seven innings so we proceeded on to extra innings. Solid pitching by Mel and defense allowed us to keep the Wolfpack scoreless but we were unable to put up a run of our own to pull out the win, that is until the epic bottom half of the 10th inning. Skinkis lead off our half of the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Alexa, and then moved up again on a pass ball. Tacke was then intentionally walked in an effort to avoid her potent bat, bringing G to the plate with runners on the corner. In storybook fashion G came through with a super clutch three run walk off homer putting us ahead 3-1 and giving us the first win of the series. However the second game didn’t go in favor and NC State was able to get the win. Coates pitched a solid game in the circle but we were unable to wake the bats up and get the runs we needed to counter the Wolfpack offense.
The game on Sunday was once again a duel as both teams were scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when our offense stepped up and capitalized on the opportunity to score. With Skinkis on second Nicole smashed a single to left field and Alex was able to make it home safely. Then in the top of the seventh defense shut the Wolfpack offense down with a quick three up three down inning giving us the game and series win!
We finished up the day with a free youth clinic on the field, which was a lot of fun. It was my first time working with kids so young so it was nice to get to hang out with them and just have a great time. Next up this week we take on our last in-state rival, Radford. Come out and support us if you can! Thanks for checking in!
April 12, 2010 – Lessons Learned
Hey Hoos Fans!
We knew heading down to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech meant a weekend full of great competitive softball and that’s exactly what we got. Although we did not come out of the weekend with any wins, we did not come out empty-handed. Instead we came out with a plethora of learning experiences, more knowledge of where we stand as a team, and last but definitely not least, motivation to bounce right back, keep working hard, and to get better everyday.
This week instead of lasagna and bread sticks to kick off the weekend we started things off bright and early Friday morning with a breakfast of pancakes, bacon and delicious hash brown casserole. After breakfast we all piled onto the bus and began our lovely 9 ½ hour ride to Atlanta. What is there to do on that long of a bus ride? Apparently a lot! A few things our team came up with were:
1. Sleeping – my personal favorite, as my towering five foot one stature allows me to fit quite comfortably in the overhead beds.
2. Playing Quiddler – I’ve never played but its been described to me as Scrabble with cards, which seems pretty fun.
3. Watching movies – We love movies and it’s pretty entertaining to listen to G recite every line from the movie Mean Girls perfectly.
4. Aimlessly wondering the Internet – Thank goodness for WiFi!
5. And of course studying!
Thanks to all those activities and plenty of food we finally made it into Atlanta. After stopping at Outback Steakhouse for dinner we went to the hotel and settled in for the night to get ready for our big weekend.
The first game Saturday started out evenly matched, as we both remained scoreless until the fifth inning. Then the Yellow Jackets managed to score three runs in the bottom of the inning but our offense was right there ready to respond. We immediately answered back in the top of the sixth posting two of our own runs thanks to a single by Alex that scored both Tacke and Nic who were on base thanks to a fielders choice and a double, respectively. Georgia Tech managed to score two more runs the next inning though and get the win. The second game was even closer as we had the 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning needing only three more outs to clinch the win. The Yellow Jackets weren’t going down without a fight though. The top of their line up lead by acclaimed hitter Jen Yee managed to rally and score three runs in the bottom half of the inning giving them their second win of the day also. Sunday morning we came out refocused and ready to play but we just couldn’t string together the offense we needed to get the win.
Although this weekend was a tough one we learned a lot. We know that there are still a lot of things we can work on and to us that’s a good thing because we never want to settle. Every day we head out to the field we strive to get better and this weekend is just another thing to motivate us to keep working harder. There’s no better sign of a great team than how they react after a tough couple of games, so with that in mind, it’s time for us to bounce back and keep on working! Thanks for checking in!
April 5, 2010 – Blue Collar
Hey Hoos Fans!
It’s undeniable that a main characteristic of this year’s team is our blue-collar work ethic. Whether it is on the field or in the weight room with our trainer, Ed, we know how to get down to business. But rest assured, we’re still a super fun team that knows how to joke around and have a good time. Throughout the season we’ve achieved the perfect balance between hard work and good times and that balance definitely came in handy this weekend as we pulled out the series win over UNC.
This weekend started a little different than normal. Our normal frantic packing and traditional Italian meal were replaced with something a little more fun: getting Coach Schmidt and Coach Freitager ready for the game! Due to our sweep at Virginia Tech the previous weekend they both agreed to wear something special for the first game of the UNC series. So we started the weekend off right by giving Coach Schmidt an awesome pink bunny sweater the team had shipped in all the way from California and for Coach Freitager we added a Bump-it hair accessory to her trademark ponytail to give it a little extra volume and oomph! (Be sure to check out the UVA Softball group page on Facebook for photos of their new looks!) After admiring the coaches spectacular new looks we were even more fired up and ready to play so we headed over to the field.
It was obvious our pregame fashion fun got us ready to play as our offense came out firing on all cylinders from the beginning. We grabbed an early lead in the first inning thanks to back-to-back solo homers by Nic and Tacke. However the Tar Heels weren’t going to roll over that easily and they managed to score four runs over the next three innings, but our offense wasn’t done yet either. Our response that included a single by Lo that scored me from second, followed up by Nic’s second homerun of the game allowed us to take back the lead. Then solid defense and pitching stepped up to seal the deal, keeping UNC from scoring any more runs and giving us the first win of the series.
On Saturday we came out once again fired up to play the day’s double header, but unfortunately Tar Heel pitcher Danielle Spaulding was able to cool down our offense during the first game and UNC got the “W”. Although we didn’t get the first win we didn’t let it affect us and we came back refocused for game two of the day. The game was evenly matched and scoreless until the top of the fourth inning when UNC managed to score one run, but it didn’t take long for us to respond loud and clear. In the bottom of the fifth Lo was hit by a pitch, and then Nicole was walked brining Tacke up to the plate. Not to be outdone by Nic she too stepped up and hit her second home run of the series giving us the lead 3-1. Defense and pitching came through once again shutting down the Tar Heel offense through the next two innings making us the series winner for the first time since 2005. The day wasn’t over yet though! After the game we all enjoyed an Easter egg hunt with all of our younger fans on the field followed by an autograph session, both of which were “first-year-firsts” and loads of fun! We really do have the greatest fans! Thanks for checking in and thanks for all the support!
March 29, 2010 – Rivalry Week!
Being from Virginia I know plenty about the instate rivalry between Virginia and Virginia Tech. Since I was a kid everyone has either been a Wahoo fan (which I was of course!) or a Hokie fan, no switching sides, no if, ands, or buts about it. So it felt great to head down to Blacksburg this past weekend and finally become apart of the competitive tradition, and it felt even better to come out on top!
The trip started Friday evening after practice with our traditional Italian dinner and game film. After everyone had gotten their share of lasagna we loaded up the bus, and I kicked off my duty as “bus monitor” (a role which I was pretty excited about since it meant I finally didn’t have to lug around equipment twice my size!) with a head count and we hit the road. The ride down was pretty good thanks to Satellite TV and Wi-Fi which allowed those of us who are basketball crazy to keep up with our brackets (mainly Pitt!) and the rest of us to aimlessly discover interesting things on our teams favorite website: www.stumbleupon.com (a website that shows you random sites catered to your interests.) The ride got even better when we also made a surprise stop at my favorite ice cream shop: Cold Stone Creamery. It was a great surprise that definitely helped end the day on a high night. There’s no better way to prepare for a big game the next day than with a cup of your favorite ice cream and a good night’s rest!
Saturday morning we all came out fired up and ready to go. Although it took us a little while to gets the bats going, it finally happened in the top of the fourth and we put together a string of hits and were able to put up five runs. Solid defense and pitching then stepped in to make sure we maintained our lead, which we did as we kept the Hokies scoreless and got the first win of the series. The second game of the day was an intense one. This time we jumped out early scoring four runs in the top of the first inning but Tech also made a run as they managed to score in the second and fifth. Then in the bottom of the seventh Tech made another surge, getting runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh but thanks to solid defense they were left stranded and we picked up the second win of the day. After the games we went straight to dinner at Outback Steakhouse and then back to the hotel to study and sleep.
The weather Sunday morning was cold and rainy but that didn’t stop us and we all came out eager to play. We gained the lead in the first inning once again, putting up six runs and then added two more runs the next inning when Tacke hit a huge homer that was for sure one of the furthest hit balls I’ve ever seen. The Hokies pushed back and scored three runs but their rally was cut short by the rain as we had to clear the field in the top of the seventh. After waiting through the 30 minute rain delay we took the field again, scoring two more runs during the top of the seventh. But the rain started coming down again and the game was called. The score reverted back to the sixth inning, putting us up 8-3 and giving us our third and final win of the weekend.
All in all, it was a great weekend for us as we were able to maintain our undefeated record in the ACC and also get another great “first year first” in the form of our first official three-game sweep. Now its time for our next instate rival! JMU here we come!
March 22, 2010 – To California and Back!
Hey Hoos Fans!
This past weekend we headed out to sunny California to compete in our biggest tournament yet, the Judi Garman Invitational. For some it was great to be home, and for others it was their first time playing out west, but for everyone it was a weekend filled with great softball and fun times that no one will soon forget.
The trip started out as it normally does for us, with an epic adventure through the airport. Javy (Cynthia Javaras) was the airport monitor for this weekends trip though so she stayed on top of things and made no one was left in the bathroom and we all made it to the flight safely. We left Charlottesville and then, after a layover in Atlanta, finally boarded our plane to LAX. The plane to Los Angelos was huge (at least to the kids like me who don’t make too many trips out west) so most of us spent the first half of the flight “ohhing” and “awing” at all the cool stuff on board, like free direct tv! But eventually we all settled in and tried to catch a few z’s for our games later that day. When we arrived at LAX it was pretty late so we just collected our things hopped on the bus, and once at the hotel most of us were asleep within minutes of entering our rooms.
The next morning we awoke bright and early for our 6:30AM breakfast, then headed right to the field for our first game of the tournament against Louisiana-Lafayette. It was a great game for our offensive as we came out aggressive and stayed aggressive. We were able to put the ball in play, keep the pressure on and make things happen. Defense and pitching also had a great game, which combined with our offense allowed us to get the lead and keep it, giving us our first win of the tournament and our second win over a ranked team!
Since the ULL game was our only one of the day we headed back to the hotel and got ready for a part of the trip I’m sure everyone was ready for: our trip to Huntington Beach! Everyone was excited to finally be able to wear shorts and flip flop and once we arrived everyone made a beeline for one of two places: food or the beach. I personally opted for food and I and some of the other girls headed straight for Wahoos Fish Tacos because of course it only make sense for a group of Hoos to eat at a place conveniently named after us! (only kidding! But it was delicious!) Then after about a half an hour on the beach (Coach didn’t want us soaking up too much sun) we walked the boardwalk a little and then got on the bus to go to the Skinkis’ house for dinner!
Dinner at Alex’s house was amazing! We got to enjoy a great home cooked meal, relax in the hammock, soak our feet in the hot tub and even make s’mores in their fire pit when the sun went down! Since it also happened to be my 19th birthday that day her family and my dad surprised me with a birthday cake! So I must say, a day filled with a big win, time at the beach in California and an awesome dinner at Alex’s house is a pretty great way to spend a birthday.
The next day we got up a little later for breakfast since we had a midday game and afterwards we hung out in our rooms a little and then had study hall and lunch right before we left to go to the field. We came out tough against Fresno State and pitching and defense were pretty solid the entire game. However, despite our efforts we just couldn’t push any runs across to counter the Bulldogs lone run and we didn’t manage to get the win. After the game we headed back to the hotel and enjoyed our traditional Italian dinner which was especially nice this time because all of the family and friends who made the trip to the tournament got to join us. And then we all headed to bed.
On Saturday we were back to our bright and early breakfast and then we headed to the field for our only two game day of the weekend. The first game was against no. 8 Oklahoma, and for six innings we were evenly matched, neither of us able to push a run across. But then in the top of the seventh Oklahoma was able to score and we weren’t able to string together the needed hits to respond in the bottom half of the inning. Mel pitched a fantastic game though and although we didn’t get the win it was still a good feeling to know were on the right track and can compete with the best. Our second game of the day was against San Jose State and our offense was able to rebound from the previous game and put some runs across early in the game. However San Jose offense was also alive that game and they just managed to out hit us and earn the victory. After the game we refocused on the big game we had the next day, went back to the hotel and then headed out to dinner. The restaurant we went to was right across the street from the hotel but it was a nice change of pace since we normally just order food into the hotel. After dinner everyone headed to bed since we all wanted to be well rested for our last day at the tournament.
The next morning we got up and after breakfast, made our way to the field for our game against no. 2 Arizona. Everyone was focused and ready to go and you could tell from the way we warmed up that everyone was just excited to get the game started. That excitement showed in the top of the first inning as we executed textbook softball to jump out and get the lead. G led off the game with a walk, Lo bunted her over with a sacrifice, and then Koren stepped up big time with a clutch homerun to put us up 2-0! It was a great feeling to set the tone in such a way, and have the advantage going into the rest of the game, especially after we held the Wildcats scoreless through their half of the first inning. Throughout the rest of the game the defense led by Mel in the circle, put on a great performance as we held Arizona to one run despite their seven hits. The game ended in a picture perfect way with a line drive right back to Mel who made the catch to end the game. It was super sweet!
After the game we headed back to the hotel to shower and pack up and then we loaded up the bus and headed to Downtown Disney. All the girls on the team enjoyed a meal together at ESPN Zone and then we headed off to do a little shopping. A lot of the girls on our team are huge Disney fans, (a common team event for us is a team dinner and a Disney movie), so everyone had a great time filled with shopping and hanging out. After a few hours there we got on the bus and headed back to Alex’s house to hangout as we had plenty of time to spare before our red-eye flight home. Once again we had a great time there and we showed our support for our fellow Hoos and good friend by watching the Women’ s Basketball team play. When it was finally time, we headed off to LAX and prepared ourselves for the long flight and plenty of waiting and sleeping. The time in LAX was pretty interesting though as a few of us got a chance to take a picture with fellow Virginian and music artist Chris Brown, and Koren and I got to talk to him and his friends as we waited in line for our late night pizzas. When we finally made it back to campus the next day at about noon we were welcomed by none other good ‘ole Virginia rain and although we were all super tired we were happy to be back.
All in all it was definitely a great weekend, full of fun times and great softball. And after this weekend we once again realize that were headed in the right direction and we’re ready to get into the full swing of the ACC’s this weekend.
Thanks for checking in!
March 8, 2010 – Saturday in The Park
Hey Hoos Fans!
We couldn’t have asked for better conditions as we took the field this past weekend for the long-awaited first home series of the spring. Everyone was super excited to be on our own field, and all that emotion was translated into an unwavering display of unstoppable offense and defense that resulted in our first undefeated weekend of the season!
On Saturday we came out ready in the first game against Delaware State. From the beginning of the game we played aggressively and capitalized on many opportunities that were given to us to score. Mel also had a great game on the mound and with her performance in addition with our solid offense we were able to pull out the first win of the weekend. The momentum from the first game of the day kept rolling right into the second game against Columbia as we once again put on a display of excellent offense. This time it was lead by Alexa Martinez, who looked completely unaffected by her injury and ready to go (this was Lex’s first weekend back after spraining her ankle at Elon). She put on a three-hit performance, which is a pretty sweet way to bounce back from an injury if you ask me! Nic also did a nice job on the mound and helped us earn the second win of the day.
On Sunday it didn’t seem as though our bats had cooled down at all as we once again came out swinging in the first game of the day against Columbia. Throughout the game we compiled 13 hits and two thirds of our line up had a two hit game! Hawkins also stepped up with her second college home run that game and our solid defense held the Lions scoreless as we picked up another win. The last game of the weekend against Delaware State was just as offensively oriented. But this time it included one of the best two-out rallys we’ve put together this season as we managed to score seven runs with just one out to spare. Every day in practice we work on what we call “passing the bat,” which is finding any way to get on base when there are two outs so we can keep the inning alive. So after that rally we were all pretty happy that our daily hard work translated into a real game performance. Defense was also solid as we turned multiple double plays and Nic picked up her third win of the season.
All in all it was a great weekend we played well in all aspects of the game and it’s an even better feeling to have such a solid performance our first home series of the spring. So thanks to all the fans that came out and supported the team, especially us first years, since actually playing at The Park was a “first year first!”
This week we’re in for a fun spring break filled with games and practice to prepare us for our ACC opener next weekend. First stop, Longwood!
Thanks for checking in!
March 2, 2010 – Home Sweet Home (in Newport News, that is)
Home sweet home … well sort of.
This past weekend we hosted Our Cavalier invitational, but thanks to the seemingly impossible-to-melt layers of snow still blanketing Charlottesville (and more importantly The Park) all games were played at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va. Although we would have loved to play on our own field, the change in scenery didn’t affect us as we came out of the weekend with a solid performance, a great showing of support from all our fans and of course many learning experiences.
This trip started off a little differently as it was the first time this spring we left at night after a full day of classes and a short practice. Our departure time from U-Hall was eight in the evening and most people were just ready to relax and sleep the whole ride there. But we were lucky to have a super cool bus complete with wi-fi and on our team; the presence of the Internet does not equal sleep. So even though most of us said we were going to sleep we ended up wide-awake taking full advantage of the Internet. Some of the internet activities included online homework, tending to farms on the Facebook game Farmville (which Lo is slightly addicted to) or “Text Twist” which is a game where you get two minutes to make as many words as you can from six scrambled letters.
We woke up Friday morning ready to take the field and came out aggressively in our first game against George Washington. The offense was on point and lead by Nicole with two home runs in consecutive at bats. The second game was a little more of a struggle and despite our efforts we just couldn’t pull out the win over Notre Dame. That night we enjoyed a nice Italian Dinner (a favorite on our team) and afterward, reviewed our day, set goals from the next, experienced an awesome motivational speech from out trainer Himes (because everyone can use a little motivation now and then) and then headed off to bed.
The next morning we woke ready for our rematch against Notre Dame and despite our multiple efforts on the offensive side, we just couldn’t get the clutch hits we needed to score the runs and get the win. We regrouped though and came out refocused for our game against George Washington and got the win. Pitching was solid along with defense, and the offense was lead with a three run bombski (that’s a home run for all those who aren’t familiar with our UVA softball lingo) by Hawkins! The first of her college career … sweet stuff!
Speaking of first year firsts I’d like to add something new to my weekly blog! I’m a first year sooo I’d like to keep track of our “first year firsts.” Here are the ones so far:
Elon Tournament: Skinkis’ first college home run and her first time playing in the frigid cold. Welcome to the East coast Alex!
Tiger Classic: Diddy’s first trip on a plane, and her first trip to a different time zone.
And of course the Cavalier Classic: Hawkins first college homerun!
Next up, Hampton! Thanks for checking in! Later Hoos Fans!
Feb. 23, 2010 – Baton Rouge
Hey Hoos Fans!
To be the best you have to play with the best, and that’s exactly what we did this past weekend as we headed out to baton rougue to play in the Tiger Classic at LSU. The weekend was full of tough opponents and finally … blistering temperatures above forty five degrees! Good bye snow!
So what does a trip with 17 girls look like? Well first it starts out with the lovely event of packing, which this week included the excitement of leaving behind our parkas and hardwarmers, but also presented us with the task of staying below the fifty pound airline limit. For some this was a breeze but for others like Didlake whose texts books alone approached fifty pounds it was a little more difficult.
When we go on road trips every person is also assigned a piece of a equipment, and this week Skinkis and I were assigned the helmet bag. I’m five foot one, Alex is five foot five and the helmet bag is big enough to fit both of us comfortably inside of it. So of course our teammates found watching us lug the ginormous bag around quite amusing. Everything and everyone made it to the airport though and we spent the time before out flight just hanging out and eating .
After a three-hour layover in Atlanta and a short flight we arrived in Baton Rouge. Everyone was pretty tired but G and I were wide awake and decided to amuse ourselves with fake moustaches we bought out of a gumball machine while waiting for our bags. (We looked pretty amazing.) Once all the bags were rounded up we got in the vans, headed to the hotels and once there went straight to bed.
The first day of the tournament consisted of two tough games, the first against Michigan and the second against LSU. Although we didn’t come out with any wins we learned a lot about what it would take to be successful throughout the weekend. That night was filled with a special dinner as we all made a trip to alumni Megan O’Leary’s house for an amazing home-cooked Cajun meal. For a lot of us it was first time eating Cajun food like jambalaya so everyone really enjoyed it. It was also nice to see all the family and friends who made the trip to Baton Rouge to support us. After dinner we went back to the hotel, studied a little and then went to sleep.
We started Saturday off with a nice breakfast and goody bags from Abby’s mom and then we headed to the field. We played another tough game against OSU but unfortunately couldn’t pull out the win. After the game we ate our usual PB & J lunch and took some time to refocus for our rematch against Michigan later that evening. When five o’clock rolled around and it was time to play Michigan everyone was focused and ready to go. From the start of the game our energy level was high and we responded quickly to Michigan’s early one run lead with a run of our own in the third inning. Then an inning later Tacke stepped up big time and hit a solo homerun to put us ahead. That run was all we needed as our defense and pitching then came through with an unbeatable performance that shut down the Michigan offense. It was a great win for us all and it also earned us a spot in the championship game the next day against LSU.
The next day in the championship game against LSU, our offensive came out swinging but we just couldn’t string enough hits together to pull out the win. After the game we all ate lunch at the field and headed back to the airport for our flight home. We finally arrived back to Charlottesville around ten o’clock and after three long days we were all exhausted. BUT the excitement never ends on the UVA softball team and Kristen Hawkins replaced the amusement with a little adventure of her own. As we were in the airport Hawkins was resting on the baggage carousel and sure enough it turned on without her knowing. She then fell backwards and fulfilled every kids childhood dream of taking the carousel for a spin. To top it all off Lo caught it all on camera. It was epic! And of course she came out unharmed!
On the whole, the weekend was tough, but we learned a lot. We know exactly where we are as a team and although we only came out with one win on the weekend it was a big one that let us know we are moving steadily in the right direction. This week in practice we’re getting back to work and we’re all looking forward to another good performance this weekend in our tournament. Go Hoos!
Thanks for checking in!
Feb. 15, 2010 – Let the Fun Begin
And the fun begins.
This weekend we officially kicked off our season with a trip to Elon, N.C. Although the weather prevented us from playing our two games on Saturday AND it was our first time playing on dirt (which is a quite different from our snowbanked turf field), we came out focused on Sunday and played solid games against UNC-Wilmington and Elon.
The trip started with our noon departure from U-Hall. The bus with full of energy as many people were eating lunch, talking and laughing, or like me obsessively freaking out about weather or not they had packed everything they needed! I’m a horrible packer and although I had set out everything I needed in my locker the night before, I was convinced that come warm-up time of my first college game I’d reach in my bag and find myself gloveless. Epic fail.
But once all mental checklists were complete and everyone was settled we headed down the road. The trip to Elon did not take too long and most people spent the ride studying or just relaxing. When we arrived at the hotel we didn’t have much time to sit around as Coach Schmidt had gotten us practice time on Elon’s field.
Although it was pretty cold during practice time (Skinkis’ Cali hands were frozen within minutes) everyone was so happy to be on dirt. Practice was short, but focused and effective and we looked as though we’d been playing on dirt for weeks. After practice we headed back to the hotel and had a delicious Italian dinner. Most of us then ended our night with studying and/or Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, and unfortunately, snow.
Saturday morning we all came down to breakfast unsure how the overnight snow covering would affect our games. However, we were still ready to play because by now most of us, even the girls from out west, have become oblivious to snow. Around 10 a.m. we found out the games were cancelled, BUT a Wahoo never misses the opportunity to work. We headed out to an afternoon indoor practice, followed by dinner at Outback Steakhouse (sweet right?!), and then study hall (even sweeter!).
Finally Sunday morning rolled around. The big day. Everyone met in the lobby for a nice Valentine’ s Day breakfast, and all the upper-classman greeted the “firsties” with many high-pitched “aww’s” because it was our first time in full game uniform. I guess we were pretty precious, although we all preferred to think we looked pretty.
The first game against UNC-Wilmington went off without a hitch. The offense hit the ground running as we scored early and never let up. Mel also threw a great game in the circle and the defense was strong behind her. The game ended in perfect fashion with Koren’s first walk-off homerun of the season. Tacke and I were on base, and I must say, although I didn’t hit it, it still feels pretty darn good to do a home run trot to end the game.
After a game break, and a sandwich lunch on the bus (thanks to our team a Wahoo is now a fish that eats 3x its weight in bread) we started our game against Elon. The offensive again was on fire. (Koren and Tacke hit back-to-back homeruns!) But some defensive miscommunications and well timed hits by Elon allowed them to earn the W despite our multiple comebacks.
Although we didn’t get both of the wins, there were still many positives to the weekend. Throughout the Elon game we showed a lot of heart, immediately responding to Elons’s runs, with runs and hits of our own. We also were unphased by the transition from turf to dirt. Our offense was virtually unstoppable. AND thanks to our best friend “hand warmers” everyone survived the cold.
On the whole, this weekend was a solid start to our season. Before we left our strength and conditioning coach Ed told us that no game can be taken for granted. So we plan to learn as much as we can from every game we play. This week in practice we will refocus, work on what we need to, and keep moving forward on our journey to regionals.
Next up is LSU!