Joseph mindful of keeping Spartans focused on present
Prior to last weekend’s series against Minnesota, the MSU softball team was 2-8 in one-run games, including a February stretch in which it lost four out of five games by 2-1 scores.
Fast-forward one week after sweeping Minnesota by scores of 2-1 and 7-6, and the Spartans (16-17 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) have a newfound confidence going into this weekend’s series at Indiana (7-21, 0-2).
“We weren’t tough enough, and we weren’t finishing, so we had leads, and then we blew it in the end,” MSU softball head coach Jacquie Joseph said.
“We’ve been doing that a lot. … This weekend, I felt like the Minnesota series, we got over the hump. I could see the players really knew, ‘Ah, OK.’
“They weren’t looking at me like I had three heads anymore. It was like, ‘OK, we get it now.’”
MSU has won three games in a row as the Spartans head to Bloomington, Ind., to face a Hoosier team that has lost 11 of its past 13.
But despite the Hoosiers’ struggles, Joseph knows the Spartans can’t overlook Indiana.
“If (my players) go down there and think that they’re playing down or they don’t get up for the game, then we won’t be successful. We’re not that good,” Joseph said.
“We’re not just going to show up, get off the bus and beat people; we’re not that good. We have the ability to be pretty good, I like us a lot, but we are young and sometimes stupid, and we need to be mature about what our task is.”
Junior outfielder Jessica Bracamonte said she isn’t worried about the Spartans looking past the Hoosiers.
“We just keep the same mindset with whoever we play,” said Bracamonte, the team’s second-leading hitter at .363.
“We came off a pretty good win, so we can take that and apply it to every game from here on out and keep the aggressive approach and finish every game.”
Junior shortstop Lindsey Hansen said the Spartans are hoping to use their confidence to score early and add to leads, something they have struggled to do this season.
“We’re looking to keep the ball rolling. We want to focus on hitting and scoring a lot of runs,” Hansen said.
“We don’t want to stop that because when we stop, that’s when other teams come back in games, so we just want to attack.”
With conference play in its early stages, Joseph said it is important that the Spartans rack up as many wins as they can against teams at the bottom of the conference standings.
“Everybody’s good in the Big Ten. It doesn’t matter what their records are,” Joseph said.
“Because the gap is so small between winning and losing, if we go down and we have the same kind of resolve that we had against Minnesota and Eastern Michigan, I’m very confident.”