Softball prepares for Hoosier Classic
When looking at the MSU softball team’s record (7-15) the initial impulse is to assume the team isn’t very good.
But the Spartans have gone through a grueling preseason that head coach Jacquie Joseph touts as the toughest in the country and said, as a result, the team’s record is deceiving.
“I think we are the best 7-15 team in the United States, no question,” Joseph said. “(Our record) doesn’t reflect (that) because of those 15 (losses, but) at least 10 are (to) top-20 teams and they are good, not just average top-20 (teams).”
MSU has played elite teams, such as Louisville, Florida, Auburn, Oregon State and UCLA, and although the Spartans were unable to win any of those games, senior third baseman and outfielder Ali Grant said the tough competition has helped the team improve.
“The whole goal of preseason was to play some really hard teams, that way we can make ourselves better as a team,” she said. “You only get better by playing better competition, (and now) we have a lot of experience going into this Big Ten season.”
MSU will head to Bloomington, Ind. this weekend for the Hoosier Classic, where the Spartans will take on Central Michigan, UIC, North Dakota and Wright State.
Senior catcher Brett Williams said she is excited to return to playing softball in the midwest region against teams of a similar caliber, which she believes will prepare them for the conference season.
“I think this weekend will be nice,” she said. “We’ll be playing midwest teams, a lot of the teams that have gone down South and played the same competition we have, so it’s really going to prove to us where we’re at in the midwest and maybe give an indication of where we’ll end up in the Big Ten. Overall, this weekend is just to enjoy it, have fun and gear up for Big Tens.”
The Spartans were out practicing Secchia Stadium on Thursday and Joseph said in her 19 years of coaching, she can’t remember the last time her team was able to work out on its home field this early in the season.
Joseph credits the weather and the team’s upbeat personality for helping MSU navigate an early losing skid with the right mindset.
Now as MSU gets set to take on regional teams and prepare for the conference season, Joseph said it’s critcal for the Spartans to take the lessons they learned from a tough preseason schedule without taking lesser teams for granted.
“Just because we’ve been through boot camp, just because we’ve been through, what I would consider SEAL training, that doesn’t mean my opponent isn’t going to try to shoot me,” she said. “So we have to come ready to play.”