High hopes for Rattler softball

Assistant coach Camise Patterson talks to players between drills.
| Photo credit: Desmond Howard

The 2017 season for the Florida A&M University Rattlers softball team ended with yet another Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship; their fourth in a row.

With the start of the 2018 season quickly approaching, the team appears to have similar expectations and are even aiming to surpass those expectations as well. The goal of the team seems to be to hold tightly to its new motto, “Exceed Expectations.”

FAMU finished 14-2 in MEAC competition last season. This was the highlight of the team’s 23-32-1 overall record for the season.

Assistant coach Constance Orr wants to see the team give every ounce of effort and leave everything on the field this season.

“I expect us to compete with every team we play against,” said Orr. Orr believes if the team puts in the effort to compete against every opponent in every game it will lead to more wins. “I expect us to finish over .500. I think as a coach, finishing over .500 is a good accomplishment.”

Players share these lofty expectations for the team as well, especially players going into their last season as a Rattler.

Senior pitcher Veronica Burse says she feels an obligation to be a leader on the field and the duty to make sure everyone is ready each game.

“I know we can do better than in previous years and I know we have the talent to do better,” Burse said.

 Players await instruction from coaches before next drill.
| Photo credit: Desmond Howard

Burse had a record of 5-16 last season with a 6.42 earned run average, ERA, but says her stats and the team’s stats don’t truly represent how the team performed last year.

Senior infielder Toni Anderson has great expectations for the team and for herself. Anderson, who 12 home runs last season, is focusing on trying to set the FAMU softball record for home runs in a season. The record currently is at 19, so Anderson has her eyes set that magic number 20. Anderson’s goal for the team is just as impressive as her personal goal.

“I expect us to get past regionals,” Anderson said. “Take it one game at a time and get through MEAC, Regionals, and keep going until we make it to the World Series.”

Expectations are high for this year’s team as the Rattlers get set to try capturing their fifth consecutive MEAC title and possibly move beyond that point as well.

The Rattlers will get their first taste of action Feb 9, at the Sand Dollar Classic in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Fans will get to witness the first home game Feb 21 against Mercer University.