The university’s softball program under Head Coach Rick Fremin has created a family environment for their players by instilling values they can take with them long after they leave their careers on the softball field.
During Fremin’s four years at the university he has focused on both earning conference wins, and also have sportsmanship accompany his player’s talent.
“Well I tell them all the time to respect their opponent, respect the game but also play hard,” said Fremin. “We’re going to try and do things the right way and have integrity and try and play the game the right way. We can still play the game hard and aggressively, but at the same time, we’re not here to take people out, throw at people and go in cleats high. Some people do play that game it is just not going to be our style. We’re going to have great sportsmanship.”
In a doubleheader against Alcorn State University held March 20th, the team demonstrated such sportsmanship with a shake of the hands after one of the team’s runners ran into the opponent covering third base.
“For the most part the players have been coachable throughout the season, so they make my job easier,” said Fremin. “You know I tip my cap to them on that gesture and handling their opponent that way with respect.”
The team’s mindset and attitudes is something that the program focuses a significant amount of their energy on.
“That’s something I’ve preached from day one and continue to stay on them about,” said Fremin. “This is a team sport. I have no tolerance for self-players or transferring the blame, and they know that. We preach that to them while trying to create a family environment and a good bond, have team chemistry and have them control their attitude and their effort. So a combination of all that is probably a reflection of what you see.”
Part of the family environment of the team includes the team’s creation of special chants for each player as a way to cheer them on at-bat. Senior Maddie Edmonston explains how these cheers are started.
“Those chants, sometimes we just pull them out our butts,” said Edmonston. “We don’t know what we’re about to say. We just get to going, we get a beat going, and we just say stuff. If they sounds good everyone joins in. We laugh, we have fun. I think that’s a really big factor with keeping our heads up.”
Edmonston explains how the dugouts energy transfers to those on the field.
“I think that how we are in the dugout when we’re up and when we’re partying in the dugout and we’re having fun when we’re cheering each other on, I think that carries on over into the game,” said Edmonston. “It gets people hits, and it gets people making plays. It just gets people happy to be here in a positive environment.”
Pitcher Lacey Hill reinstates the importance of having the team’s support from the dugout.
“It is very, very, very important when you hear your team cheering you on,” said Hill. “I know our hitters enjoy us in the dugout chanting and cheering them on. We’re just wild sometimes. We don’t even know what we’re saying honestly, but we just try to stay loud and keep everybody upbeat and positive, and I think that contributes to our offence.”
So far the family atmosphere has been successful for this season’s conference with an overall 4-2 seed, and a five-game winning streak, the team prepares for their next match on March 23 against Nicholls State.
Senior Mahalia Gibson runs to third base for a steal.