By Josh Brown, Sports Editor
The Lady Bulldogs softball team started off its 2012 season in a way that no team wants to start — with a home loss to a non-conference team.
However, thoughts of a losing season did not resonate even for a minute with the players. The women fully kicked the season into gear by winning the rest of their games in February.
The Lady Bulldogs sit in first place in the TranSouth Conference standings with a conference record of 25-5 and an overall record of 39-10. The team stands in first behind a season full of long winning streaks.
Twice the Lady Bulldogs have strung together a 10-game or better win streak. They have lost back-to-back games only two times the entire season.
Brooke Thomas, junior sports medicine major and starting pitcher for the Lady Bulldogs, attributed the team’s success to a focused and complete team effort.
“So far I think that we have performed well and have played up to the expectations of others,” Thomas said. “We have a great defense and offense, and we try to practice whenever we can to fix any flaws we may have. I believe that is the reason for our success.”
Pitching has been a crucial part to the team’s success, and Thomas anchors the starting rotation with a 19-6 record. She also boasts a 2.21 ERA, as well as team highs with 189 strikeouts, 20 complete games and eight shutouts.
Kelly Robey, freshman chemistry major and starting pitcher, also has played a major role on the team. Robey has posted a 17-4 record with a 2.02 ERA.
“We have really great pitching, which is important in softball,” said head coach Heather Hall. “It has definitely been a team effort in the pitching circle. Brooke (Thomas) has been a pitcher for three years and has really held down that pitching (rotation). Her experience has been an advantage.”
Hall also credited the Lady Bulldogs’ success this season to the team’s chemistry.
She said the team has been playing unselfishly and “knowing their role,” whether that is dropping down a bunt to move a runner into scoring position or hitting a sacrifice fly to bring in a run.
Hall said continued success throughout the end of the season will depend on the team’s consistency and keeping the same focus they have had the entire year.