Breaking It Down With Bailey

Feb. 10, 2010

2009: National Champions.

2009 is officially over.

2010: One game at a time.

2010 is a new beginning.

After several months of being honored here, celebrating there and acknowledging a feat that we have all been working so hard to achieve, we are finally getting back to the diamond.

And boy has there has been a lot of anticipation leading up to this season with questions of, 'Do you think you'll do it again?' and, 'What's the team looking like this year, you ladies looking to repeat?'

WELL DUH!! Why do we play? We want to win it just as badly as we did last year and I know we have a team that is capable of doing it again. Our biggest opponent on our schedule is the one we play all season: ourselves. We know now what it takes to get what we want and I am so impressed with how everyone has handled all of the media and hearsay about what we 'need' to do this year. I just can't wait to play!!

We have been working so hard this offseason (and I dare to say harder than any season since I have been here) to be in the best shape and ensure we are mentally tough should we ever have to face another obstacle like UMass. This 2010 team has three sets of seniors with a rookie class who don't seem at all to have any jitters (except nerves to get out there and play some big time opponents, I am sure). Our leadership has gone from one important and key leader to three classes of leaders who want to make this team better than ever.

Last week we took this StrengthsFinder quiz where we had to answer 177 questions online about a variety of different things and then we found out at the end what our top five strengths are as a person and a little blurb about the strength. Later that week we had a lady named Angela come in and explain to us what it was we had just done and how we can use this tool to our advantage. I think it was awesome to hear everyone's strengths (which seemed to be DEAD ON) and understand how people work the way they work! My five strengths are Positivity, Empathy, Includer, Activator and WOO (Winning Others Over).

Anyway, all I know is that I cannot WAIT to be playing again. It has been forever since we last played in a game! I am pumped to see what our freshman class has for us this year! Shawna Wright has already made huge strides when it comes to being behind the dish and handling the hot corner of third base. She is constantly throwing girls out with her quick release and it makes me feel like I am slow and really irritates me, haha. Jerrin Fa'asua is another rookie who isn't very vocal which makes her sooooo intimidating. I am definitely glad she is on my team. Maggie Wagner is like a little kangaroo out there at second base, she is constantly jumping around and always eager to learn new things. Baily Harris (who I like to call Ell-Why [LY] because she has my name) is looking more and more confident in the circle everyday and I can't wait to see how awesome she will perform when it come to this preseason. And finally, my mini-me, Amanda Fitzsimmons, who I played against as a senior in high school (she went to my rival high school Riverside) and I hated, but now is on my team and I love her! She is an exceptional hitter who is trying her hand at first base. All five feet and four inches of her...that's like putting an elf at first base. That rounds out the freshmen class.

The sophomores don't seem like sophomores to me one bit. They all grew up with their experience last season and boy what a season they had. We have Taylor Smith who basically hit a home run every time she got the opportunity to pinch hit, Kimi Pohlman who is ridiculously clutch and fast like a NASCAR, Niki Williams who decided she needs to have 10 RBIs in the Women's College World Series and hit three very crucial bombs, Jenna Clifton who as a 95-pound young lady can hit as far as anybody I know, and Felecia Harris who could kill someone with one of her lethal line drives (and I always fear that she will... good thing she isn't using the Rocket Tech anymore). I expect great things out of this class, especially when it comes to leading the freshmen.

Our junior class is very different, they have also had to grow up very quickly and take on several roles that were necessary after the graduation of the seven seniors from last year. Morgan Stuart is our fashion coordinator and also our outstanding third base woman (I have never seen anyone play a better third base than her, she is reliable and motivated, and it makes me want to learn how to play third base like her...which obviously is impossible to teach). Ashley Tuiasosopo has come so far since the first day she came onto this field and she is only getting better. It is amazing to watch her confidence in this game grow and I am very impressed with all of the adjustments she has made to become a better player. Jenn Salling is also another great leader who doesn't necessarily have to vocalize what she wants. She brings a lot of intensity to this program and I am so happy to have her on our team!

And finally, the seniors. Now, when we took the strengths test, it was interesting to me that every single senior had the strength Activator. And we were the only ones to have that strength (except Kimi) which I thought was pretty cool. Now Alyson McWherter, our ROTC member and centerfielder extraordinaire, is getting back into the swing of things...literally. After a year of not being in the line up ready to hit, she has just been tearin' it up lately in practice and it's nice to see such an amazing defender pack a dual threat into her offensive game. Amanda Fleischman is so versatile and great at every position so it will be nice to see where she finds a home this season. She knows the game and I actually hate when she catches while I am hitting because she knows exactly what I will swing at and how to get me out. It drives me NUTS! But I admire how great she is in all aspects of the game. She has gone back to hitting right-handed and boy can this girl hit!! She has a lot of pop in her bat and I know she will be a great asset this 2010 season. Danielle Lawrie is back in action again and man, are we glad to have her back. The confidence she brings to the mound is beyond belief and I am honored to play behind such a professional. She knows how to win and will do what it takes to get us where we want to go. And then there is me. Apparently the shortest on the team (it's a three-way tie with Fitz and Jerrin) and I have now adopted a new term with J.T called 'The Beetle Shuffle' because of how I run the bases. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Well now that I have finally written my first blog of 2010, it's all down hill from here and I won't be shutting down until July! If you would like you see all blogs and interviews in one spot, become a fan of Breakin' it Down with Bailey on Facebook.I will leave you with a quote: 'Success is never the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.'

Stay classy and GO TEAM PURP!

Love, 20

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