Thomas to lead Softball team in junior season

Photo Courtesy of UNCG Athletics

Photo Courtesy of UNCG Athletics

By Daniel Johnson , Staff writer

Published in print Feb. 11, 2015

As the cool, icy wind which has blow through the air since November seemingly lets up, and the once green pasture on the softball diamond is restored from the brown and dying pigment it held for nearly four months, this is a perfect time for the beginning of the Southern Conference softball season.

Last weekend saw the Spartans softball team open the regular season on the road, playing five games in the Charleston Challenge.

Coming off last year, which saw the Spartan team lose on their home field in the Southern Conference championship against the Chattanooga Mocs, the team has been given large expectations due not only to their past success, but also the current crop of UNCG softball.

The team opens up as the third seed in the SoCon in the preseason conference rankings.

Also, for the second straight year, catcher and designated player, Lindsay Thomas, has been voted the Preseason Player of the Year by coaches in the Southern Conference.

A junior from Irvine, California, Thomas talked with me about how she felt winning the award for the second season year.

“It feels good and it is confident-boosting knowing that I can be that player that can be intimidating and bring fear to other teams” the bashful Thomas stated while attempting to keep a straight face.

Along with Thomas, other individual softball players earned high preseason praise by the Conference’s coaches. Second baseman/shortstop Dominque Madruga and Lindsay’s twin sister, pitcher and first baseman, Nicole Thomas were also named to the preseason All-SoCon First team.

Lindsay elaborated over the honors of her teammates.

“I think they feel good,” she replied. “They are getting the credit that they have deserved and earned.”

With her sister in particular, while some households with competitive siblings would lead may lead to a 24-hour competition for anything and everything (also including the fact that the eldest sister, Laura Thomas, played one year of softball at Northwood), Lindsay explained that her relationship with her sister is less about competition, and more about helping.

“We are not really competitive against one another, we more lift each other up” she stated. “She was excited I got the preseason (award), and honestly, it is going to be me and her battling all season, but no matter what it is going to be, it will be a win, win scenario.”

The sisters make up as two of the only eight upperclassmen out of the twenty total players on the team.

Despite the youth and somewhat inexperience of the roster, Thomas believes that their play will shine even though they are young team.

“We have some really strong upperclassmen. We might not have the numbers, but it is quality over quantity” Thomas said. “Our freshmen are really stepping it up. Their work ethic really pushes our upperclassmen far, and few would even be able to tell that their freshmen when we are out on the field.”

In the preseason ranking, the Mercer Bears finished ahead of the Spartans as the second placed team.

At the number one slot, the reigning conference champions, Mocs rule supreme for the SoCon.

With such a highly competitive match which ended their season, a 4-3 defeat in the championship, Thomas described how last year’s heartbreaking defeat will motivate her team when playing through the season, especially against Chattanooga.

“It is extremely motivating because we know that we can beat anyone in our conference” she stated.

“It empowers us to want to work harder to prove to everyone we are going to win what we deserve.”

Thomas, confident in her team, believes this season will be another strong one for softball. 

“This is probably going be one of the best years for our team in the Southern Conference.”

After last weekend’s opening games in Charleston, the Spartan softball team will open their home schedule with a weekend series against George Washington University.

The series will feature an afternoon doubleheader at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Categories: daniel johnson, Sports

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