Jan. 9, 2012
FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State head softball coach Margie Wright fielded questions from the media during the Bulldogs' first day of practice Monday, as the team begins preparing for the 2012 season.
Q: Talk about this being your last year in the WAC for softball?
A: "We've been in seven different conferences since I've been here, so anytime you leave a conference you want to go out on top. I know our team is really focused on trying to win it this year -- for a lot of reasons -- but that one in particular because it is our last year."
Q: This year you are starting off with 10-straight games at home, how much will that benefit your team?
A: "I think it will really help us a lot because we have nine new kids this year, a lot that are returning, but the nine new ones need to see what this atmosphere is like. I think If they can play in these conditions, they can play anywhere. It's really good for our fans to be able to play at home. We haven't been able to do that in a long time. Now we just hope the weather will cooperate and it will be the same as it is today."
Q: With weather impacting a lot of tournaments at the start of the year, is it nice to be at home to start the year with familiar surroundings?
A: "I think it's nice because we do things here better than they do anywhere on being able to play even if it has rained. It's a big plus, the kids can be at home and don't have to be sitting around a hotel if it's been raining and there is a delay. There are a lot of pluses for it, but my hope is that the weather man will control it for us."
Q: Talk about this year's team and some of the stars we can look at to help lead the Bulldogs?
A: "We have a lot of kids returning, but we do have virtually a new left-side of the infield. People like Brooke Ortiz or Michelle Moses, who play second and first and then Michelle on the mound, make a big difference because the whole left side is being introduced to Division I for the first time. Andrea Ortega in left field will be our anchor in the outfield. She's played four years out there and then we got a lot of newcomers this year that I think are going to be really exciting to watch. Brenna Moss in center is one example, so I'm excited about this year. I think our pitching staff, even though we only have two seniors returning, we have two freshmen that I think are going to come in and make a big difference this year. I think it's going to be an exciting year."
Q: You do have some newcomers that will really have to step up then?
A: "We've got Stesha Brazil, who transferred in from the University of Houston, and she's got a great bat. A lot of these freshmen - Michelle Solomon, Maria Sio - a lot of these kids are very, very good as freshmen and they've come in and really done the job in the fall. So, I'm excited for the season to start and I'm really glad we are getting to open up at home."
Q: Talk about Michelle Moses and how much she is going to mean to the team this year?
A: "I think anytime you have a returning all-region and All-American player, anybody that's been on the mound and has faced the top teams like she has, is a big plus. Mackenzie Oakes is returning, too, and they both have faced some pretty big opponents in their careers. I think these two seniors can really make a big difference in the way we finish this year."
Q: What will be the signature or personality of this team?
A: "The personality of this team is one that we really haven't had in a while. We've got speed at the top and bottom this year, we've got power in the middle and we've got some very good veteran pitchers and a couple of really good freshman pitchers coming in. The flexibility that we're going to have this year that we haven't had in the past, either due to injury or whatever, is outstanding. I've seen it already this fall and I'm excited about that."
Q: Do you have a theme for this season?
A: "We haven't come up with that yet, normally we come up with that this week. The theme that we've had every year is we want to make it back to Oklahoma City. Personally, I'm sick and tired of not making it to a super regional and going to the World Series. We always get a tough draw. We used to be able to beat those teams and in recent years we haven't, so I'm calling upon this group of seven seniors and nine new kids to be able to make a difference in where Fresno State softball ends up at the end of the year. Once we get over that hump again, I think there will be no stopping us, but it's just getting over that hump and making it to a super regional."
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