After reaching the semifinals of the Women College World Series, Florida State Softball began their fall season with two Garnet and Gold scrimmages followed by exhibition games against West Florida and TCC, respectively.
The spring of 2016 brought a third straight ACC Championship for the Seminoles in addition to their ninth appearance in the Women’s College World Series. However, Head Coach Lonni Alameda and her players aren’t letting last year’s success hamper this season’s goals.
“This year’s team is a driven team. They have their eye on what they want to be, and that’s the best softball team they can be,” Alameda said. “They’re not about the outcome of Oklahoma City right now, even though that’s where we want to get to.”
The ‘Noles bring back several All-Americans in Jessica Burroughs, Alex Powers and Jessica Warren, three of the eight returning starters from last season. Needless to say, the expectations are high for the ‘Noles. Nearly half of last year’s All-ACC team call JoAnne Graf field home as well; out of the 14 first team all-conference members last season, six of them sported the Garnet & Gold.
Team Gold topped Team Garnet in their scrimmage Saturday morning, 5-1. One of this season’s highly touted newcomers, Valrico native Cassidy Davis, crushed her first career home run over the left-centerfield wall to cap off a strong performance for team Gold. In addition, Davis saw some time on the mound and could land a spot in the pitching rotation come spring, preceded by Jessica Burroughs and redshirt sophomore Meghan King. Considering Davis’ throwing velocity, it is also a possibility she could serve as the Seminoles’ closer.
After a remarkable campaign last season in which she led the ACC in wins (29) and was runner-up in both ERA (1.86) and strikeouts (235), the redshirt senior Burroughs praised all of the team’s newcomers.
“It felt good to see what the freshman have to contribute this year, they really proved themselves out there which they’ve been doing all fall,” Burroughs said. “It shows you this team is ahead of the game already than we were last year.”
If this team is already ahead of where they were last year, watch out. The Seminoles boasted a 55-10 season-record with just two losses in 23 ACC games.
Someone to certainly watch out for is junior Morgan Klaevemann. The Texas native totaled four RBIs in an 8-4 victory over UCLA in the Seminoles’ first WCWS victory last season and is a player to keep an eye on in the leadoff spot once again.
“It’s great to pick things back up and roll with it again. Obviously, our goal is to win a National Championship, but expectation-wise it’s just to learn every single day”, Klaevemann said after Saturday’s scrimmages.
Florida State impressed the home crowd this weekend with a 13-3 win in a scrimmage against West Florida on Saturday and a Sunday smack-down of TCC, 10-1. Junior Jessica Warren showed why she’s one of the country’s best players, homering in back-to-back at-bats in back-to-back games. Three of the four homers were three-run bombs but came as no surprise as she led the ACC in home runs (20) and RBI (78) last season.
Seeing as the fall has only just begun, presumably, the Seminoles’ biggest challenge is simply not getting too antsy waiting for the Spring to roll around. For Alameda and her team, however, it’s all about the process.
“The process is a big part of you becoming a team,” Alameda noted. “Character is a part of us as a unit. We’re athletic, but we need to have a good bond and that takes time. We work really hard at that.”
FSU’ fall season continues through the rest of October and into November, culminating on November 13 at home against Georgia.
By: Michael Hudak