By Brendan McCoy
The weather is starting to turn, and spring sports are firing on all cylinders. Both baseball and softball will be traveling to Florida over the week of spring break to start their seasons off before returning home and starting conference games. Not only will the change of scenery bring warmer weather, it will also give the teams a break from the practice irregularities resulting from the Storzer renovations, though both coaching staffs have used the lack of space as an opportunity to focus on the fundamentals.
“With the limited space it has really forced our team to focus on the fundamentals of the game of softball.” Head softball coach, Brook Kalman said “The biggest challenge with the space we have available to us is that our batters will not see live pitching until we get to Florida. While it is a challenge that we will not see live pitching until Game 1 down in Florida, this has forced our girls to really perfect their tee work.”
“I want us to be playing fundamentally sound baseball and show the ability to make the proper adjustments the game of baseball requires from you. Every game is a big game so the opener needs to bring the same intensity as any late season conference game,” head baseball coach Eric Cruise said.
Kalman is excited to see what her team can do in her first season as head coach. She said “Florida is going to be a chance for every player to get an opportunity to prove to the coaching staff why they deserve a starting position. I expect a lot out of my players. I hope that we become a team that never settles and pushes ourselves to the limit.”
Cruise expects the trip to help create the type of team chemistry necessary to be successful. “It forces the guys to do things together, if they don’t already.” He said, “It forces accountability on them that we as coaches might not be able to create in an environment at home. Outside of baseball on our trip, they have free time to be college kids and the bonding that comes with that.”
Kalman brings a new perspective to Ripon softball, as someone who was a player not too long ago. “As a coach I am going to have to remind my players constantly that you don’t get these days back, so we need to make sure once it feels as if time is flying by, we are making the most of every day,” she said.
“We have a variety of challenges presented to us but am excited about what we can accomplish before it is all said and done.” Cruise said “We can put together a fun product to watch on the field. Would love to see lots of fans out to Francis Field this spring!”