Parth Sampat
Sports Editor

Mercury File Photo The softball team begins their season on Valentine’s Day this year with a road series against Louisiana College.

Mercury File Photo
The softball team begins their season on Valentine’s Day this year with a road series against Louisiana College.

The softball program has made great strides in its two years under head coach Brad Posner, with two consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time since 2006.

The team will look to improve on its past performances as they hope to win the ASC tournament this year.

The Comets will start the season against Louisiana College on Feb. 14 and 15 at Pineville, La.

Posner stressed that continual improvement is the key target of the year, as it has been for the past two years.

“We believe that if we work hard every day, both in practices and in games, at doing the little things right and we continually get better at every aspect of the game, then the wins or results will take care of themselves,” Posner said.

The Comets’ ultimate goal is to win the conference and the national championship, and Posner said he believes his team is capable of achieving them, due to the steady improvements the team has made over the past few years.

The Comets have been selected to finish fifth this season in the ASC preseason poll. The loss of five starters hurts the team, but Posner said he hopes that with 12 returning players from last season, the team could finish higher than previous seasons and help the program grow more.

“Returning 12 players always helps the continuity of the program,” Posner said. “Having older players that can teach younger players rather than all learning for the first time breeds that kind of program — not just a team for a season, but helps establish the program and the growth of the program.”

Posner said junior outfielder Jordan Bratcher, junior catcher Avery McHugh and sophomore infielder Robin Thomas are the players to look out for this year.

“Being selected as a player to watch for this season is obviously a great feeling and definitely something to be proud of,” Thomas said. “It’s cool to see that my hard work from last year is now carrying over and paying off into this next season already.”

Bratcher has undergone tremendous development over the past two years. She went from a non-starter in her first year to the bottom of the line up in the beginning of her sophomore year to the top by the end of the year. She will play at the center field position this season.

McHugh, a two-time All-Conference player, mainly plays as a catcher, but has made a huge difference to the defense and has grown as an offensive player.

Thomas played the majority of last season at second base and will be starting this season at the shortstop position.

“The biggest challenge I feel that I’ve faced so far since moving to shortstop this year is just embracing the true role as a sophomore now and getting used to the fact that when you’re at shortstop you’re in control of a lot more things that go on in the infield,” Thomas said.

Posner hopes to make the Comets a stronger force with his unique view on leadership.

“In an ideal world and an ideal team I coach, there will be 19 leaders,” Posner said. “Every person should think they have an equal say and understand that the team is not run by a single player.”