SCU Softball Working Hard for Season-Opener February 20

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Hard work, sweat and early mornings, that's what senior pitcher Jenna Fong mentioned about the first week of softball practice for the 2011 Santa Clara University Broncos. Led by sixth-year head coach Lisa Mize, SCU is preparing for a 45-game regular season schedule, which begins in late February.

"After coming back from a hiatus in team workouts, the first week is about getting back your timing," said Fong. "Being home over winter break makes it difficult to practice at game speed mostly because of the nature of the sport. For the most part, it's difficult to do more than drills on a consistent basis, so the first week is all about getting back in stride with the tempo of the game."

Fong mentioned the emphasis of the preseason training thus far has centered around teamwork. Santa Clara went through a stretch of winning 5 of 7, midway through the 2010 season, but struggled in Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) play down the stretch, something the team looks to improve on in 2011.

"As for the pitchers, the first week focused not only on physical endurance but also on the mental game," added Fong, who is one of three pitchers in the 2011 roster. "Coach Mize discussed with the pitching staff her aim at preparing us for late-inning physical and mental fatigue. By pitching while being tired and focusing on pitch placement, our hope is that at any point of a game, whether it be the first inning or the last inning of the fourth game in a weekend, we can throw strikes and place the ball where we want."

With five full practices, three days of weights and two days of conditioning, the team's schedule is taxing. The official season opener is February 20 at San Jose State.