North Texas Daily

Softball team keeps level head despite growing attention

Softball team keeps level head despite growing attention

Softball team keeps level head despite growing attention
April 24
01:21 2014

Akshay Mirchandani // Staff Writer

The Mean Green softball team has won four of its last five games heading into the stretch run of the most successful season in program history. The team’s success under head coach Tracey Kee’s first season at UNT has drawn national attention, and is now in the conversation of teams that can make the Women’s College World Series tournament.

According to College Sports Madness, the team is right on the outside looking in to the tournament bracket. However, despite the projections, the Mean Green are trying to live in the now.

The team is focused on finishing out the regular season strong and winning the Conference USA tournament championship before thinking of the College World Series tournament.

“I think with today’s Internet and how things are and everything is out there, we try not to get too wrapped up in it,” Kee said. “That’s something with these kids that we project our own destiny at this point in how we approach games.”

However, junior infielder Dani Hoff said that the team has the talent to make that goal happen. She said that the team’s goal from the beginning of the season has been to make the tournament, something that has never been done in program history.

“I think it’s very realistic,” Hoff said. “I think if our pitchers are on and if our hitters can put up run support for our pitchers, then we can beat anybody.”

Despite setting that goal before the season, the team is worried about doing well in the C-USA tournament first. Right now, the Mean Green is second in the C-USA standings with a 28-15 record, only behind the University of Tulsa (40-5). UNT is fourth in the conference in batting average and fifth in earned run average.

Senior pitcher Ashley Kirk pointed to the recent road series against Marshall University as a spot the team should use to gain momentum. In that three-game series sweep, UNT had 24 runs (7-3, 9-8, 8-2).

“We definitely like where we are standing right now,” senior pitcher Ashley Kirk said. “But I think the thing we can improve on is to be consistent. To continue having weekends like this [against Marshall] and then just propel it and keep using it. Use the momentum and the energy, everything that we had this weekend, and use it from here on out.”

Kirk said she tries not to pay attention to what other people are saying about the team and just takes it one game at a time. Hoff also said she doesn’t pay attention either, because it adds more pressure.

“I really try not to, personally, just because it makes me nervous,” Hoff said. “If I am banking on if I don’t do well this weekend then maybe this website is not going to say good things about me then it’s going to throw my game off.”

Despite trying not to think too far ahead, Kee said that it is nice to see the team get some attention for the success they have had this season.

“I think it’s always nice to be thought of, but it’s a credit to these kids,” Kee said. “I look at this past week and Marshall is a tough team to sweep at home, and it’s something that I’ve been in Conference USA for 11 years and something I’ve never been able to do. I told that group, and we prepared very hard for it and were able to go out there, and to actually accomplish it was a huge feat.”

Feature photo: Junior pitcher Madison Thompson during the wind up of her pitch toward a University of Alabama Birmingham. Thompson pitched the final two innings of relief in the first game against UAB on Feb. 30 at Lovelace Stadium. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer

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