Mercer softball leaves no opportunity wasted
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Mercer softball’s mentality can best be described by three words found on the back of their shirts.
“No opportunity wasted.”
The team wasted nothing during their Fall season. The Bears played ten games and managed to win every single one of them.
The team’s pitching staff only allowed two runs during the entire season. They came in the last two games against Georgia Military College.
On offense, the Bears lit it up, often beating teams by double digit margins.
“We want to make it a championship program,” said softball coach Stephanie DeFeo. “Every day we talk about having a standard at practice, always going above and beyond, never accepting mediocrity.”
This is DeFeo’s fourth year at Mercer. She said that giving up two runs in 74 innings has never happened in the program, even during the preseason. The team managed to score 90 runs.
“As far as this being one of the best falls I’ve had since I’ve been here,” DeFeo said. “Absolutely.”
The team’s conference season starts in February, so there is a long break before Mercer softball has the opportunity to play again. However, DeFeo said she is not concerned.
“I find this to be the best part of our season as far as creating really good habits,” Defeo said. “We can really perfect our swings, make sure that we have really good footwork on defense and on pitching, make sure that we’re consistent.”
Maxine Rodriguez is a senior starting pitcher for the team who transferred from DePaul University last year. For her, she said the main difference between the two schools has been the coaching style.
With many competitive teams coming up on the schedule for this year, Rodriguez said the game she hopes to be able to pitch in most this season is Mercer’s game against Auburn.
“I feel like the kind of pitcher I am, I will be able to get [hitters] out and keep them off balance,” Rodriguez said.
Mercer has a couple of games against SEC teams like Auburn and Georgia this upcoming season.
However, in SoCon, the team Rodriguez said she is most excited about playing is Samford — a team that Rodriguez and other players on the team consider to be their conference rivals.
DeFeo said that she does not have any worries about playing any school that they may come across, especially when it comes to conference play.
“We have a really tough pre-season,” DeFeo said. “Having the toughest pre-season will prepare us for our conference because anyone we play then shouldn’t even compare.”
For DeFeo, it isn’t just enough to beat these teams. She wants Mercer to be a dominating force in the conference.
“I want to run through this conference, and I want to crush it,” DeFeo said.
If the team can keep playing the way it did this fall, that just might happen.
Quirisa Magau is a junior on the team who plays third base. In the first ten games of the season, she managed to hit six home-runs, two of which were grand-slams.
“This year I’m more comfortable with my plan at bat,” Magau said. “I think that helped a lot with my results.”
Magau said she hopes that her performance in the fall will translate well into a productive spring season and is not allowing her success in the fall to deplenish her drive.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Magau said. “I think I did well, probably one of my better fall seasons.”
Mercer will have to wait until Feb. 10 to play their first conference season game against Kent state. DeFeo said that until that moment, the team will continue to work on perfecting their game.
“I’m really excited about this group. We have a really great group of softball players that are hungry,” DeFeo said. “They want to win. If you went in our dugout it says ‘attack,’ and it says ‘relentless’. If we do both things, nothing can stop us.”