Thursday, October 22, 2020

Michigan State softball to begin home play next week

March 14, 2019
<p>Junior outfielder Ebonee Echols (3) hits the ball during the home opener game on March 28, 2018 at Secchia Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Broncos, 6-1.</p>

Junior outfielder Ebonee Echols (3) hits the ball during the home opener game on March 28, 2018 at Secchia Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Broncos, 6-1.

Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

Michigan State softball will play its first home game of the season March 20, after a stretch of away games to start the season. 

The team holds a 7-15 record after playing teams like Alabama, Memphis and Auburn.

The home game has been postponed from March 14 to March 20 because Secchia Stadium does not meet the proper game condition. Players said they cannot wait to start playing at home once the weather cooperates. 

“(We’re looking forward to) that home feeling,” sophomore first baseman Riley Paxson said. “We don’t really get that, we travel places where people are from and that’s cool, but we came here for a reason. We love this campus and there’s nothing like playing at home and getting in front of your parents. We’re all here for each other, we live here, (its) just a great feeling playing here.”

Jacquie Joseph gained her 700th win as the Spartans’ head coach in their game against Mercer, where the Spartans won 6-5. Joseph has more than 800 wins in her career and is in her 26th season as MSU’s head softball coach. Joseph is also a member of the NFCA Hall of Fame. She said she is excited to see what her team can accomplish while on their home field and through the rest of the season. 

“I think we’re an exciting team, I think we can create a lot of offense,” Joseph said. “We’re a young team, but we play with a lot of hustle and enthusiasm. I think we’re a fun team to watch.

“I think we’re a work in progress, we graduated a lot and we’re just trying to figure ourselves out. I think anyone who comes out to see us will have a great time.”

The team will start conference play March 22, with Penn State traveling to Secchia Stadium for a three-game series. The Nittany Lions have a 13-12 record and an away record of 1-3. The Spartans look forward to playing Michigan the most at home April 16, junior second baseman Melanie Baccay said. Michigan has a 12-10 record and a 2-4 away record. The Spartans defeated Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals in May 2018. 

“I think it’s always really exciting playing Michigan at home just because it’s a huge rivalry game and there’s a lot of history between the two teams,” Baccay said. “Everyone gets really pumped about it, not just the players but fans. We usually get a little bit (of a) fuller stadium for the Michigan game.”

While the team has faced triumphs and challenges on the road, they said they their games so far have prepared them for what is to come at home.

“We’ve learned different things about each other and our team in general and each different game,” sophomore third baseman Joanna Bartz said. “I wouldn’t say there’d been a specific one, but I would say pretty much all of them have helped us prepare to get to where we are today.”

Softball games are great to bring friends and family out to, as the team loves its supporters, Joseph said. The players sign autographs after every weekend game, and kids get to run the bases from time to time.

“It’s really a great event,” Joseph said. “It’s very fan-friendly. It’s easy to get to and super fun to watch. I don’t think there’s any downside to coming out to the park, for sure.”

The Spartans play their final non-conference tournament of the season in Oxford, Ohio for the Miami Invitational from March 16-17. MSU will face Dayton twice, Austin Peay and host Miami in the two-day affair. The Spartans will play Western Michigan at 4:30 p.m. March 20, at home.

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