“This year we’re going to make history; you might as well come and watch,” said senior infielder Taylor Rosier.
It’s the week of National Signing Day and the horizon brings forth a bright new season for The Florida A&M University Rattler softball team. Their preparation has finally begun after the 2018 season concluded on a hopeful, yet sour note. Coming up just one point short of a prideful comeback, head coach Veronica Wiggins and company narrowly missed what would have given the program five Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championships in a row.
However, already having her MEAC titles in double digits before the most recent streak, the team truly believes that they can get back on the right track under coach Wiggins’ leadership. According to Rosier, that trust that is instilled in their coach developed even before their arrival.
“She made me feel like family before I was even a part of the program,” said the Tallahassee native. “So without a doubt I was one hundred percent committed when I got the offer.”
The sunrise of this season comes with a trip to Gulf Shores, AL, where the Rattlers will participate in the Sand Dollar Classic Tournament for the second straight year. There, they will face Missouri State, Western Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Auburn, and Tennessee State, to kick off their year with a taste of competition. Assistant coach for the softball team, Constance Orr, acknowledges that this is the first opportunity for the team to get into a flow, but doesn’t expect a slow start from her group.
“One goal, the most common goal, is to do something no team here has ever done. Whatever that may be, that’s on them,” Orr noted. “Team chemistry is outstanding. The way they gel on and off the field, they’re a family. That’s what we’ve preached to them and they’ve bought into it, because when they get on the field they don’t miss a beat.”
Seemingly everything is set for yet another MEAC Championship appearance and senior outfielder Alexis Day feels that last years loss was both an event to move on from, and one to use as fuel. “We’re not solely concerned with Bethune because we have much higher goals that we are aiming to accomplish, but we also can’t forget what happened last year so it makes us work harder so it doesn’t happen again.”
Despite losing four seniors coming into this season, the confidence of the Rattler softball team is still extremely high, and offers four new seniors stepping into their own light. The Rattlers are also coming into the 2019 season with five players who were selected to be on the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s Preseason Softball All-Star team, something Assistant Coach Orr does not take lightly.
“That was an amazing honor, to have 5 girls be selected. It just shows how talented our team is and how powerful we are in our conference.”
Coated in confidence for the season, the poised position on the future for this team trickles from leadership on down. When asked about any unexpected talent, Orr wouldn’t give out any names but assures that fans “.. will see something they haven’t seen yet.” Rosier backed her coach, saying, “We have the potential, the pitchers, and everything that we need to be national champions, and we’re not going to settle for anything less.”
The first chance for Rattler fans to support their team at home comes on Wednesday, Feb. 20 against Troy University.