The MSU softball team is trying to get better, head coach Jacquie Joseph said. It’s just running out of chances to do it.
With Wednesday’s doubleheader against Oakland already moved back to Thursday and rainy weather jeopardizing today’s game against Bowling Green, the Spartans are running out of dates to reschedule games, meaning less playing time for the young team.
“It’s just really hard to get better if you can’t practice,” Joseph said. “The weather has just been real wet this spring. We’re inside hitting, and that’s about all we can get done.”
Today’s game against Bowling Green was previously scheduled for April 14 but was rained out, pushing the game to today, where it again might have to be rescheduled. But, with finals and set conference games, there is only a limited amount of dates to reschedule games, making the possibility of it getting cancelled very real.
“I’m real concerned right now that we’re running out of days,” Joseph said. “We’re running out of opportunities to reschedule. In fact, if we were to rain out (today), I’m not sure we could get (it rescheduled). … That’s the tough part about now, is we’re just running out of opportunities to reschedule.”
Moving and canceling games has become a way of life for the members of this team, most of whom have dealt with the issue since before college. Sophomore outfielder Karen Fox, one of two Michigan natives on MSU’s team, said dealing with bad weather is just one of the consequences of playing an outdoor sport.
“The weather really shouldn’t impact us because we have to deal with a lot of adversity in our sport,” Fox said.
“Whether it’s the sun, the wind, the rain, there’s always adversity. We’re not like indoor sports; it’s not a set setting. So we just have to adjust and adapt and be ready.”
To avoid getting rusty, the team has to practice inside as if they were playing outside, freshman outfielder Lori Padilla said.
“What we like to do is prepare as if it were a game,” Padilla said. “Get mentally focused and take every at bat, every throw as if we were going to play a game. And if we don’t play a game, we don’t play a game.”
While they are stuck inside, the Spartans are working on the mental aspect of their game in hopes of helping them to get by some of the problems they could be having in some of their close losses. On Saturday, the team was leading No. 23 Iowa 3-2 in the fifth inning but committed an error in the sixth inning that led to the Hawkeyes tying the game. MSU went on to lose 4-3 in 10 innings.
Padilla said the team is still trying to learn to deal with close situations.
“We get really close against good teams, and we just want to take it to the next level to capitalize on the situations that we do get,” she said.
“We’re young, and they just don’t have those tools yet. The footwork to turn a double play is a skill. The mental game is a skill, and it has to be practiced. It’s not something you just wake up and have.”
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