CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.-- The Chattanooga Lady Mocs softball team went back to work today in preparation of the 2013 spring season. The team hit the weight room early this morning and gathered at the UTC Indoor Hitting Facility at 3:15 p.m. for its first practice of the new year.
With only 31 days to go until the first game of the season, Head Coach Frank Reed says this month of practice is very crucial in shaping both the offensive and defensive lineup.
"I don't know that they understand how big these next four weeks of practice are," Reed said. "I believe our upperclassmen know. Our seniors, Kasey Tydingco (Fairfield, Calif.), Sara Poteat (Thomaston, Ga.), and Ninjja Suetsugu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) know, but there are just so many opportunities for those young kids to find their way into the lineup. As a coaching staff, we're going to be looking at how much they have learned and how much they have grown."
Chattanooga graduated 42 of its 66 total homeruns from last season with the exiting of pitcher/designated hitter Michelle Fuzzard (16), catcher Vivian Morimoto (14), and shortstop Jessica Traxler (12), along with 167 of 349 runs driven in.
"We are trying to find our offense," Reed said. "We may not be the power-hitting team that we were in 2012, but that doesn't mean we can't win without power hitting. We have a lot of talented student-athletes who can hit the ball hard and know where the gaps are. The hard part is finding a place in the lineup for all of them."
With 23 student-athletes on roster, as opposed to last season's 15, Chattanooga enters spring practice with nine freshmen and three transfers to the team.
"It's going to make for a competitive January leading up to the first game of the season," Reed said. "There are a few positions and spots in the lineup we are confident about, but there are still a few spots that are up for grabs. I hope the team realizes this, as well."
Chattanooga opens its season Feb. 8 in Clermont, Fla. at the National Training Center Invitational.