The LSU softball teams brings a mixture of veteran players and new blood to the 2019 roster, and coach Beth Torina is looking to capitalize on both this season.
Coming off an impressive Super Regional finish from a year ago, the team has one goal in mind: to win the Women’s College World Series.
“I think that we have the same expectation every year,” Torina said. “We are here to win a National Championship, and we are not afraid to say that out loud.”
To achieve the ultimate goal this year, Torina knows that she has to look to her large freshmen class, especially when it comes to her pitching staff.
“There is a couple of freshmen that stood out,” Torina said. “With the loss of Allie [Walljasper] and Carley [Hoover] , Shelby Wickersham has the best opportunity to help the pitching staff.”
Losing two big pitchers in All-Americans Carley Hoover and Allie Walljasper makes the huge freshmen class all that more necessary. Torina will feed them opportunities early and often, but they will not have to do it all on their own.
Torina is not worried about the pressure of the game because, by being young and old, she can introduce the young players to situations without having all the pressure of the game.
She is looking to keep the day one energy throughout the whole season by executing a new motto for her team.
“The motto is fight all the way,” Torina said. “We have talked about famous battles and have even had a sparring day with an MMA trainer.”
Torina is using every tactic at her disposal to get her team over the hump, but maintains the constant message about intensity and work ethic.
The scene at the first day of practice was just that. Everyone arrived 30 minutes early to practice to reunite with teammates and get ready to approach the season.
The practice was filled with energy from old and new players alike, but the trick is keeping the momentum throughout.
“I think just trying to enjoy the day,” Torina said. “Enjoy the moments instead of thinking about the result.”
Whether it’s about keeping the momentum or making sure the young players are comfortable, coach stresses winning and will do anything to achieve it.
“There are some opportunities for our young players, and we will put out the nine or 10 best players every game,” Torina said. “the biggest voids were left in our pitching staff so obviously those players will have to spend some time there.”