AROUND THE HORN with Allison McClain
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A simple hello is where I need to start. If you are a true follower of Centenary softball, then you may remember me from last season. And if not, welcome. By reading my weekly blog this season, you will be immersed in the lives of student-athletes, as well as learn all about our road trips, games, players, and coaches of this great program.

 

I’m Allison McClain, a senior Communication major and member of your Ladies softball team, hailing from a small town in Texas.

 

The season has finally begun...

 

After a competitive fall and strong off-season, we have reached that time of the year when the softball field is lit up for hours at night and fans of Centenary join one another in hopes of a successful and exciting four months of softball.

 

We bring back a winning team—for the chance to be even better than before.

 

I bring to you insight and personalities among the team. I bring optimism that is spread amongst each of my best friends. I bring to you, what Centenary softball is all about this year.

 

We opened our season just five days ago, as we hosted the Centenary Tournament featuring Boston College, Bryant University, SIU-Edwardsville, Missouri State, and Nicholls State.

 

Preparing for the opening weekend is always the most exciting preseason task. A few team bonding nights and a few strenuous practices pushed us to a 4-1 mark after the final game on Sunday. To open the season as we did, was in and of itself a TEAM accomplishment.

 

Several players had an amazing opening weekend. Senior Emerald Doria blasted three homeruns, while junior Alli Shepperd ended a game on a walk-off slam in nine innings against BC. Freshman Lindsey Smith remained consistently strong driving in runs all weekend. Though, it’s hard to express in words how pitchers Hillary Phillips and Jessica Bock performed on the mound. Both newcomers to the program, Hill tossed her first no-hitter in her first start of the season and Jessica gave us a stable and solid leader in the circle all weekend.

 

So many little things happened that provided us with the necessary tools to succeed. Softball is easily mistaken at times as a “pitchers’ duel or a hitters’ game,” until you watch our team play. We take chances, we steal bases, we execute first and third plays, we lay down bunts to move runners, we throw out runners attempting to steal...we do what it takes to win, whatever that may be.

 

Our weekly mental training meetings have guided us in a specific direction this season to focus on:  What’s Important Now or WIN. We plan to live and play by this motto for the entire season—as a team.

 

Enough about the team and myself. I decided this year that as a follower of Centenary softball, you deserve the right to know a little about each of my teammates. Without giving away their secrets, I thought it would be fun to learn some interesting facts about who makes up the Ladies softball team....

 

Up first...

 

Hillary Phillips #9

Pitcher

Freshman

Odessa, Texas

Odessa High School

 

SUMMIT LEAGUE PITCHER OF THE WEEK (Week 1) Congrats!

A: Best part about Centenary?

H: The atmosphere that goes with attending a small school. It's nice to know the majority of the students who are watching the game and in your classes.

 

A: Any superstitions when playing?

H: I'm definitely very superstitious. I have to do the same routine every day before every game. But, I guess the ones that stand out the most would be that I MUST have Subway before every game, my left sock and shoe must go on before my right ones, and during the game I have to step on first base before each inning.

 

A: If you could be on a reality show, what would it be?

H: Most definitely Real World. I think it would be cool to live in another city for four months and meet 7 new strangers. I know there is a lot of drama, but it would be a great growing up experience.

 

A: Do you have a pre-game ritual or warm up?

H: I always have Subway before each game. When I'm warming up, I have to do the same routine. I start by just loosening up my arm and then working my way back—throwing slightly harder. After I feel good with that, I throw the same pitches in the same order and then do one or two sequences of pitches.

 

A: Favorite professional athlete?

H: Derek Jeter

 

A: Favorite sport other than softball?

H: baseball

 

A: Can't go on the road without...

H: my iPod, movies, and food

 

A: What’s something others would be shocked to know about you?

H: I love art. It's the most relaxing thing I've found to do when I'm stressed. I can get lost in creating a piece of art for hours and anything that was bothering me before doesn't seem as big as I initially thought it was.

 

A: Nickname?

H: Hill

 

A: Favorite quote?

H: "We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope." -Martin Luther King Jr.

 

A: What are you looking forward to most this season?

H: Traveling to different states as opposed to in high school when we just stayed in Texas.

 

A: How did it feel throwing a no-hitter in your opening weekend?

H: I didn't even know I threw a no-hitter until it was announced, but after I found out it felt good. It definitely didn't come easy and I was not expecting that to be the outcome of my first start of the season.

 

Stay posted and follow us as we are on track to have a thrilling and entertaining year of Centenary softball.

 

We head to University of Louisiana-Monroe this coming weekend to play Central Arkansas (10 am Sat.), Southeast Missouri (5:30 pm Sat. and 3 pm Sun.), and ULM (3 pm Sun.).

 

Until next week,

“I come to play everyday.” –David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

 

For the love of the game,

-Allison McClain #8