Season Preview: Berry College softball

By Richalyn L. Miller for Berryvikings.com

ROME, Ga.—Berry's softball team begin their 2014 season at home at the Ford Field on Feb. 8 with a doubleheader against Agnes Scott College. First pitch is set for that Saturday at 1 p.m. This is the second consecutive year that Berry has opened the season at home.

2013 Recap

Berry is coming off of a stellar season in 2013 where they had a 29-11 record--their best since the team was established. BC placed first in the Southern Athletic Association with a record of 17-5.

The team also gained numerous awards including Coach Cori Thiermann being named the SAA Coach of the Year. Returners Allie Coronado, Abby Daniels, Sara Vigue and Shelby Smith all received  honors from the SAA. Coronado, a pitcher, was 10-5 with a conference-best 2.43 ERA. Daniels, the 2013 SAA Newcomer of the Year, batted .412 with 39 RBI. Vigue hit .328 with 29 RBI, and Smith batted .368 and knocked 16 doubles.

"Last season was a terrific year," said Coach Thiermann. "Our first four year class of seniors came through so it was nice to see them end on a great note: winning the regular season championship and fighting hard in the SAA tournament." 

New Conference, New Rivalries

Because it was Berry's first year in the conference, the softball team had to adjust-playing different teams--having a different type of schedule and more.

"Last year, being in the conference for the first time, was a little different. We had a more intense schedule playing four games in a weekend as opposed to playing two games on Saturday and having an off day on Sunday and we started learning about those other schools and really started to kind of build those rivalries," said Coach Thiermann.

This season, it seems as if Berry is rebuilding again after losing that senior class but Coach Thiermann is confident that the team can gain that sense of camaraderie back that allows them to be successful.

Looking for New Leaders

"We're trying to find new leaders, especially because we had a vocal and tight senior class last year," she said. "Now we're turning over a new leaf. We now have a senior class of three, and a sophomore class that has a lot of playing experience. We're trying to create team chemistry, which is something that is crucial to success.

"We're very young team and we have a lot of learning to do, so we're just trying to implement the basics. But we're already seeing the buy-in already in that they work extremely hard."

Despite the team being young, there are a couple of factors that will help them continue to be successful on the field. "We're very athletic," said Thiermann. "We have speed on the bases and in the outfield. We lost some power last year but that's something that we've been able to maintain with the players we have this year."