BUENA VISTA, Va.—The 2013-14 Southern Virginia University softball team fills its roster with a young new squad going into their first season as a member of the Capital Athletic Conference. Head coach Duste Grawrock expects the competition to strengthen the young squad and elevate their level of play.
To view the 2014 CAC Softball Preseason Webcast, visit the CAC YouTube page.
Grawrock shares her outlook for the season:
What are your goals and expectations for this year's team?
One of our goals this year as a team as we step out on the stage of Division III ball is to come out and do our best defensively. We will make sure that we are making plays quickly and efficiently and shutting down some of the teams that have already been here and made a statement, especially in the CAC. We are also expecting our young ladies to step up their game at the plate and execute the things they are asked to do. We need to move runners across the plate and get us on the scoreboard more often than we have in the past.
Who are some of our key losses from last year's team?
We lost our pitching staff. Kenzy MacKay graduated and then went off to serve a mission and we'll miss her dynamic presence on the mound. We'll also miss Annie Biggs, who left to serve a mission, as well. She was a great element to have from an offensive point as well as defensively from the mound. We also lost our starting catcher, who also left to serve a mission. It's great that we have a lot of mature players who are willing to step it up on the field as well as step out into the world and serve. We are grateful for those players and all they've done and sad to see them leave us.
Although we are young into the preseason can you see anyone that is leading the team thus far?
We have some excellent freshmen that have really stepped up. We are really excited for Kenzie Packard. She has great range in the outfield and is shutting our outfield down. It's going to be very hard to get anything past her. We also have Kelsey Bair, who comes to us as a middle infielder and has a fantastic bat as well as Kenzie. Those two are great to have in addition to all of our girls. We are impressed with how they are coming together as a team.
How is the team's training and conditioning coming along?
We work really hard. These girls pushed each other through two-a-days and put a lot of time in the weight room as well as the cages. They are working hard and are coming out with fantastic throws and, most importantly, our communication is really settling and we're coming together as a team.
What are your thoughts on our schedule this year, both out of the league and in the Capital Athletic Conference?
First of all, we're really excited to be stepping into the CAC and excited to play some top-notch teams. For us, it's not necessarily a challenge but an open invitation to play our best game and we're really excited for that. We will also be playing some teams from the ODAC, which also features quality teams that will only elevate our play. We're looking forward to these teams and to continue to play our type of game and make our mark.