Gamecocks Back at Work Preparing for 2012 Campaign
Jan. 9, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The temperatures say spring is in the air, and the South Carolina softball team began its practice period for the 2012 season with two practices on Sunday and another hitting workout on Monday at Beckham Field.
Day one started with a team fitness test and quickly transitioned into a full defensive workout on Sunday morning. After lunch, the squad hit the field again, getting in lots of hitting on the field and in the cage.
When asked about the first day, senior infielder Sam Arbaugh said, "The first day of practice was a really long day, but it ended up being a blast. The first half went really fast. We surprised ourselves really; we didn't look rusty at all. Everybody did great on defense. And we came out for the second practice and hit the ball really well."
"It's been pretty phenomenal," said senior infielder Evan Childs. "You can definitely tell everybody went home and worked hard over break. That's a relief, knowing everyone was doing their work while we were gone. Everybody looks good. I'm really excited about what we bring to the table this year."
It was not just the players who noticed their sharpness on day one. Head coach Beverly Smith remarked, "Yesterday's practices were very productive. The thing I noticed the most from the team is they did work over Christmas. Everyone looked sharp at the plate and in the field. We were aggressive and excited. Even in the fitness test, you could tell our team put in a lot of work over the break."
Childs said she thought the group was tested by the staff on the first day and hoped the group had surprised the coaches. Both seniors mentioned part of their motivation behind their hard work in December: knowing their playing time is coming to an end after this season.
Before hitting the field, the Gamecocks got together in the locker room, the first time the full team was in the same space since its Christmas party. And all reports point to it being a lively affair. "Immediately, the music went on," said Arbaugh, "and it turned into old times again, just like pregame. There were lots of hugs, jumping, laughing, screaming and definitely dancing." Added Childs, "It was crazy. I know we've said 1,000 times our team camaraderie is great, but we're basically all like sisters, just like Coach (Smith) says."
Asked if that energy would go away soon, Arbaugh responded, "We plan on it being here all season."
With two days in the books and a day of class down, the Gamecocks will start to settle into a daily routine of class, practice and workouts. Updates will continue at GamecocksOnline.com leading up to South Carolina's first game in early February.