May 9, 2007
DELAND, Fla. _ It will be "Breakfast at Stetson" for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons in the opening game of the Atlantic Sun Conference Softball Tournament.
Dew will still be on the grass at Patricia Wilson Field Thursday when the No. 4-seeded Lady Bisons (25-26-1, 9-8-1) face No. 3-seeded ETSU (25-27, 10-8) at 8 a.m. CDT.
"It's a tougher situation playing so early in the morning, but we have already made that point to our players," Lady Bisons coach Kristin Peck said. "We will get them up and going. Not being a morning team is not going to be an excuse.
"It doesn't change our routine. It's just a different time. We have to make sure they get plenty of sleep the night before."
Patricia Wilson Field is a familiar and friendly venue for the Lady Bisons. They finished 5-2 here this season, splitting an A-Sun doubleheader with Stetson March 21. The team stayed in DeLand and played in the Stetson Invitational March 23-25, finishing 4-1 in the tournament with two wins over Princeton and one each over Kent State and Stetson. The only loss was to Cornell.
"That puts us in a good situation," Peck said. "We are familiar with the field. We have played quite a few games here this year and we played well. This is a place where our players feel very comfortable."
"There are a lot of Florida kids on the team and their parents plan to be here," Peck said. "We have a lot of parents flying in. We will have plenty of support. It is a good situation for us."
The Lady Bisons, making their second appearance in the tournament in the last three years, also have an extra incentive. They played their two worst games of the season at ETSU, losing 12-0 and 13-1 in snowy conditions in Johnson City.
"We are pretty fired up about playing ETSU again," Peck said. "I started a pep talk the other day and one of my captains cut me off. She said, `Coach, I don't think you have to say anything else. We are pretty much fired up. That's good to hear.
"Knowing that we have played well on this field, and knowing that we didn't play well against ETSU the first time, I think we are fired up. I think we do have more incentive there than we would against any other team."
Freshman pitcher Christen Campbell has also been a rallying point for the Lady Bisons. Campbell was not selected to any of the A-Sun postseason teams and the team wants to help showcase her talents in the tournament.
"Christen has an added incentive," Peck said. "She didn't throw well against ETSU the last time. ETSU is one of the two teams she didn't beat in the conference in the regular season.
"Christen didn't get named to a postseason team and that is an added incentive for our team. They know that she is one of the best players, if not the best player, on the team."
The Lady Bisons have broken a number of school offensive records this season with 51 home runs as a team and 14 home runs each by Heather Collins and Abby Keese. That type of power, combined with six starters batting more than .300 gives the Lady Bisons the ability to strike at any time.
"It is huge to know that we at any moment in time can have one big inning," Peck said. "Hitting is kind of a contagious thing for us as it is with a lot of teams. All it takes is for us to get one or two hitters on in the right situation. We are very capable one through nine of making things happen.
"You never want to get down in a tournament. But we know we can bounce back. We have done that time and time again. And we have pretty good defense and solid pitching with Campbell to back it up."
Win or lose the Lady Bisons will play later in the day in the double-elimination tournament which continues through Saturday.