Joshua Mabry, Campus Carrier sports editor
For the first time in the team’s history, the Berry softball team will have a different head coach leading the team.
Emily Stanley, who has served as the assistant softball coach for the past five seasons, is the interim head coach this year. Stanley said that even though she and her team keep saying it over and over again, they are really excited for the upcoming season.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity,” Stanley said. “I think the girls have all really bought in and it’s really exciting to see them practice.”
The Berry softball program is tremendous, according to Stanley.
She said that Cori Thiermann, the previous softball coach who started the Berry program, made the program what it is known as today.
“There are just so many things that make Berry softball stand out,” Stanley said. “The team makes Berry softball stand out. They do such a good job of creating a culture that is competitive, that is hardworking, that is supportive and it is unlike anywhere else.”
Stanley said that she hopes to continue some of the traditions that Thiermann started and start some new traditions as well.
There are many exciting things about being a coach, according to Stanley. She hopes to continue enjoying these aspects of being a coach as interim head coach this season.
She said that she enjoys the “aha” moments of being a coach.
“I get so pumped when I see them working really hard at something and then all of the sudden it clicks,” Stanley said. “It’s the most exciting moment, especially at practice when you see it on their faces.”
While this season looks to be exciting, it is still too early to know what the fate of the team will be this season, according to Stanley.
“It’s hard to tell really early,” Stanley said. “I know every year, every team is a little different. We talk about that a lot. I think this team has a ton of potential. I think they can get so much out of this season and they’re going to get as much as they put in. I’m excited to see that and how they work through.”
There are both many returning players and many new people on the team, which is a great mix, according to Stanley.
Stanley said that the team is currently working very hard at practice and she cannot wait to see what the team accomplishes.
Many unique personalities is something that stands out about this year’s team, according to Stanley.
“I think that it’s really fun to see how they come together,” Stanley said. “It’s an interesting dynamic. I think that we’ve got some really strong personalities in our underclassmen and that’s really exciting to see them play off of each other.”
Stanley said that everyone on this year’s team feels equal to each other and is meshing well, which creates a fun atmosphere to be around.
Sophomore outfielder Hunter Padgett said that she wants to grow as both a player and person this season.
“I think Berry softball is you’re not just an athlete,” Padgett said. “You’re a person first and we really focus on that.”
Padgett said that the team is eager to be on the field and ready to play. She said that since it has been raining a lot recently, they have not been able to go on the field as much as they want.
The team is looking forward to facing their opponents, according to Padgett.
“We’re a very competitive team and that environment is so fun to be in and to play with each other finally, Padgett said. “We had a scrimmage in the fall and that was a glimpse of what this season is going to be and it’s going to be even longer, so I can’t wait.”
Padgett echoed Stanley and said that the dynamic of the team is very strong this season.
She said that fans cannot look at whether or not someone is an underclassman or upperclassman on the team because the team is equal.
“Our personalities are fun and they make it fun,” Padgett said. “We’re very different, but we have a really good family dynamic and that’s something that’s really important to Berry softball.”
Stanley and Padgett both said that everyone should come to their first games on Feb. 8.
The team will have a doubleheader against Covenant College.
First pitch of the first game will be at noon and then first pitch for the second game will be at 2 p.m.
“We’re ready to play, so get ready to come watch us,” Padgett said.