A postseason surge propelled Thomas University's softball team to the NAIA tournament last year.
The Lady Night Hawks hope to carry that momentum to this season. According to coach Bill Wilson, TU is off to a good start in preseason practice.
“This team is the best team I've had here,” Wilson said, “and I don't even mean ability, I mean just work ethic, great kids working their butts off. It's good talent but I'm more impressed with the effort. “This is the best group I've had here as far as that.”
The Lady Night Hawks soared in the conference tournament. Facing elimination, TU recorded wins over Jamestown College, Lousiana State University-Alexandria and University of Houston-Victoria, the No. 2 seed. TU finished second which earned the team a berth in the national tournament.
Sparking TU last year was pitcher Alexa Fair. As a sophomore, Fari tallied four wins in the conference tournament, highlighted by a shutout of Houston-Victoria. Fair's return leads a talented squad of veterans.
“I've got 10 junior college transfers this year,” Wilson said. “We've got two freshmen on the varsity and two seniors on varsity. Everyone else is in between.”
Other pitchers in TU's rotation include Summer Rose, a junior-college transfer from Waycross, Jessica Johnson, a transfer from Sumter Community College, left-hander Natalie Manning and freshman Chelsea Carter. Though Fair established herself as the team's ace following her magical conference run, Wilson is hesitant to say her success will dictate the team's success.
For full details, see Friday's edition of the Times-Enterprise.