Joshua Mabry, Campus Carrier Asst. Sports Editor
Berry’s softball and baseball teams hope to continue the success from last year into this season.
The softball team ended last season with a 39-6 overall record and 16-1 Southern Athletic Association conference record scoring 362 runs. The Vikings made it to the NCAA Division III super-regionals last year.
Cori Thiermann, head softball coach, said that even though Berry’s softball team has had much success in the past, this year’s team is a totally different team from last season.
“We have a clean slate to go prove ourselves and hopefully improve every day so that we can get to May and hopefully have some of those fun experiences that we’ve had in the past,” Thiermann said.
Thiermann said that from a coaching perspective, this team is going to be fun in terms of moving people around and being strategic.
Kassie Howard, who was a key part of the team’s success in the past, graduated last year. Not having her on the team will be a challenge to overcome this season because she helped the team mentally. Howard had a lot of innings pitched and at- bats under her belt, according to Thiermann.
“She was outstanding for our program, but now we’re going to be a little bit more strategic with our pitching staff,” Thiermann said.
This will bring more good pressure to the team’s offense, according to Thiermann.
“It’s not that our pitching staff isn’t talented; they’re just different,” Thiermann said. “They have a different repertoire of pitches that our defense might have to work a little bit harder for, which is great.”
The biggest challenge for this year’s team will be getting their minds right for the players that they have this season. Thiermann said that they have to figure out who they are, what they should expect and then they can be an aggressor.
Thiermann said she hopes that all 15 of the Vikings can bring success to the team at some point this season.
The seniors on the team are of particular interest this season because they have remarkable experience in conference play, regional play and super-regional play, according to Thiermann.
Senior utility infielder Katlin Seger said that she is feeling excited for this season.
“My goal every year is to better myself as a player and leader,” Seger said.
Seger is also looking forward to working with the freshmen on the team.
The fact that this season’s team is so young is going to be the biggest challenge. However, Seger said that this is not a hard challenge to overcome.
“We’re going to have a really young defense, which is really exciting for me,” Seger said. “It’s a really good learning point being able to work with new people, learning their ways and seeing them in different positions and myself.”
The 2019 season for the Vikings will begin on Feb. 2 with two exhibition games at Berry against Reinhardt University. The regular season will start on Feb. 9 with two games against Covenant College both at Covenant. The first game will be at noon and the second game will be at 2 p.m.
The Vikings baseball team ended last season with a 29-13 overall record and 15-4 SAA conference record earning the SAA regular season title.
David Beasley, head baseball coach, said that this is a totally different team from last year.
“Our record last year doesn’t equate a whole lot to this year, but I do like our guys,” Beasley said. “We’ve got a lot of guys back with a lot of experience.”
Beasley said that the baseball team has the talent to be successful again this season, but the players have to go out, apply what they know and be successful in the situation.
The Vikings have 18 returners this season. Beasley said that there is not going to be one or two players who lead the team this season.
“It’s going to be a team effort and that’s one of the strengths of this team,” Beasley said. “We are deep as far as all positions. I think we’re really solid at every position.”
One aspect that makes this team stand out from previous teams is that this team bought into each other and bought into the process, according to Beasley.
“They came out here and really just left it all on the field,” Beasley said.
Berry is going to have a good team this year, which means that the Vikings will be getting everyone’s best game, according to Beasley.
Beasley said that one of the main goals for the team, which has always been one of his main goals, this season is to win every game.
“For us, it’s about going out and getting better every day,” Beasley said. “If we go out and buy into the process that we’ll get to, I think this team will be very successful.”
Beasley said that he has many goals for his team.
These include winning the conference and leaving no doubt in their opponents’ minds that they are one of the best teams in the South.
Beasley also wants to go to the NCAA tournaments.
Senior right-fielder Casey Whitaker said that his impact on the team this season will be to put all adversity aside.
He said that the first thing he wanted to accomplish this year was to build relationships with the freshmen in order to help get them on board with what the team has planned.
Whitaker’s goal in building relationships with the freshmen was for them to trust him and believe that he knows what he is talking about when talking about the path to success .
“If they don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, then they may never see it until their sophomore or junior year,” Whitaker said. “As a senior being a vocal leader, I had to realize that these freshmen look up to me.”
Whitaker said that they have to dictate their own destiny and approach every game with the mindset that they can get it done again.
Junior shortstop and right-handed pitcher Dylan Beasley said his goal for this season is to be a better teammate.
“There’s only so much you can do on the field, but there’s a lot that you can do off the field to help people get to where they need to be,” Dylan Beasley said. “As an upperclassman, that’s a role I need to take on a little more seriously.”
Dylan Beasley wants the Vikings to beat everyone that they play.
“I want to make it pretty easy to understand that this year, we’re the best team,” Dylan Beasley said.
The baseball team opens the season at Piedmont College on Feb. 5. First pitch will be at 6 p.m.