Practice report: Softball
Jan. 16, 2009
You wouldn't know it by the temperatures outside - it's brutally cold in case you didn't notice - but the UK softball team has begun practicing for the 2009 season. Fortunately for UK Coach Rachel Lawson and her team, the Wildcats have been indoors at Nutter Field House since Monday.
The Wildcats finished Friday's practice with live pitching and hitting, but Lawson said they've been working on everything from defensive drills to footwork to batting practice.
"Everybody came back focused and they're ready to win games," Lawson said. "The first measure of that is almost everybody came back in great shape and everybody came back healthy. ... I would feel comfortable playing a game right now. Some of our kids just need to learn our team concept a little better, but they're working hard and they're focused. We've had a very productive week of practice."
Lawson has been particularly pleased with the play of the pitching staff and freshmen. Lawson said the pitchers are blowing pitches by hitters thus far in practice, and the 10 newcomers are transitioning to college ball extremely well.
"You wouldn't really know the difference right now between our sophomores and one of our freshmen," Lawson said.
Lawson said the returning veterans have also had a great first week of practice. Sophomore center fielder Meagan Aull has done a better job of knowing her pitch and attacking it, Lawson said, and junior shortstop Molly Johnson has come back stronger and faster than ever.
"Everybody has picked up where they left off last year and are probably a step or two better than they were last year," Lawson said.
The team will continue individual and team workouts next week inside Nutter Field House. Lawson said the practices will become more intense and tougher mentally as the season approaches.
"We have to step up our game," Lawson said. "Our expectation is high but it's got to continue to climb higher and higher. Everything they learn this week they better remember because it's going to get more challenging."