NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) -The SFA softball team held their first practice of the 2020 season Monday on the football field at Homer Bryce Stadium.
The practice was a week after the university discovered someone vandalized the field by doing donuts in the outfield.
“We had our first team meeting last night,” SFA Softball coach Nicole Dickson said. “We had a lot of fun with our kids and we set the tone early. We are not going to complain about what happened. We are not going to let it set us back. We are going to go on the turf and prepare for opening weekend.”
A groundskeeper group is still repairing the damage. It should be ready to go by next Friday.
In the meantime, the team will use the football facility.
“We have great support from the football program and track program to let us find time to practice,” Dickson said.
The players said the shock of what happened has worn off but it did hurt.
“Yea it was not the way we wanted to start off the year," junior infielder Bryana Novegil said. “We are going to stay positive and keep a good outlook on it.”
One advantage the team might have right now is all the time they will have on the turf. They open the season with four games at the University of Louisiana-Monroe Tournament. All four games will be played on a turf field compared to their grass surface they are used to.
“We look at this as an opportunity to train on the turf and prepare for opening weekend. They have turf so we are just going to be 10 times better on turf. We have a handful of games this year on turf and the conference tournament is on turf so this can help us.”
Last year’s team went 36-23 on the year, losing in the third round of the Southland Tournament before hosting a NISC Regional. The team has their two dominant pitchers back in Ashley Kriesel and Kassidy Wilbur. A lot of young talent will be on the line up card with multiple freshman playing in key positions. The team knows the damage to the field needs to become an afterthought as the season approaches.
“They key to our game is manufacturing some runs and scoring,” Dickson said. " It is going to come with mental toughness and confidence."
The Softball schedule can be found here.