With the end of the Fall season, Softball coach Janelle Brenamen has only two months to prepare the her team for their Spring season schedule. She did, however, have to give an interview regarding her thoughts on the season, amongst other things.
The first topic of discussion was her takeaway from the past six week (the Fall season) of games.
“We welcomed in a very talented Freshman class and we returned some veteran players,” she said of her team, “and…we exposed some areas [the Girls’ Softball Team] needs to work on.”
When pressed for specifics on what the team needs to improve on, she said:
“I think the big thing for us is to maintain that aggressive mentality at the plate. We have foot speed, we have power, and we’re really gonna put runs on the board.”
Now, for those of you who weren’t aware, two Saturday ago was the Spartan Way Camp, a day when younger softball players to come and learn from the Spartan Softball coaching staff. When asked why she did this, she told me:
“Giving back to the community in which we live in is very important. Our young ladies are privileged student athletes and they enjoy the game and the game has done so much for them so it’s a way for us to teach the game to younger players and is a way for us to appreciate and repay the community we’re in in any way possible.”
This year UNCG also welcomed two new members to its coaching staff: Macy Jones and Bethany Wells, the former of which played for Penn State in the Big Ten. Of the two of them and their effects on the team, she said:
“We welcome both Coach Wells and Coach Macy. I think they add a lot of energy and they add a different perspective” she said. “Wells is doing a nice job with our outfielders and just the details of the position that the Outfield requires and strengthening their throwing and their fielding skills. And Coach Macy played in the Big Ten, so she brings that experience just last year from being a Penn State Student Athlete. She brings that energy now to our Spartan Athletes.
Last Wednesday, Coach Breneman released the Fall softball schedule, in which the first fourteen of eighteen games will be played on the road (the exceptions being the home openers against George Washington University and Longwood on February 25 and 26). About this road heavy schedule she said:
“Well, if you notice, we’re going south so that is obviously on purpose ‘cause, y’know, the temperatures. Weather in February can sometimes be questionable, and it’s very important that we get those early tournaments played and get games in so being on the road is on purpose to get better climate to open up our season.”
When asked if there was any particular game or tournament that the team was looking forward to, Coach Breneman responded:
“After you come back from winter break and train for about a month, opening day is really all you’re looking forward to. You know, the chance to be able to compete against another opponent is what everybody counts down and looks forward to” Coach commented. “So, you know, the start of our season is gonna be exciting, it’s gonna be a great tournament filled with some tough competition and as we go on the road to Georgia Southern but, you know, I think each and every day we’re working towards fine-tuning our skills and working towards competing on opening day.”
(By Georgia Southern, Coach Breneman is referring to the school at which the Eagle Classic is held. This year it will be at Georgia Southern University on February 11-13 and the Lady Spartans will be going up against Tennessee Tech, Tennessee University, and Georgia Southern University.)
In the SoCon (short for Southern Conference), has seen the Spartans rise in the final standings in the past two years from a seventh place finish in 2014 to a fourth place finish in 2015. When asked about how she would improve UNCG’s SoCon standing, Coach Breneman said:
“Our pre-season schedule is one that will really challenge us in situations that are going to be consistent with our conference match-ups. Going into a tournament and seeing up to seven or eight pitchers are going to prepare us and help us match the mental adjustment to attacking at the plate.” She continued, “So that’s the mentality and we’re working on fine-tuning whether it’s first-third defense or bunt defense these pre-season games and practices are gonna help us but hopefully we’re learning along the way and we’re building on successes we’re going to have and we’re setting our goals on the top spot of that conference.”
Finally, when asked what she wanted to see from her Spartan athletes this year she said that she wanted them to give 100 percent and an exciting season.