Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easler, Russell sit down with LC sports

Bobbi Easler

Q) What do you think the difference from the first half of the season to now is?
A) In he first half, we were all getting to know each other and it takes a while for new girls to figure out how Lee ball is played. In the second half of the season, we are more in tuned with each other. we are all on the same page, that page is to win conference torney and advance to nationals.

Q)What steps do you think need to be taken to win the conference championship?

A) The conference championship will take all 18 of us as a whole working together and adjusting to situations. our biggiest problem this year has been adjusting to pitchers and i think we are doing a better job now, but that is what will have us carrying the championship trophy. Growing up and maturing together.

Coach Russell

Q)How do you feel the season has gone so far in comparison to how you expected it to go?

A) I actually expected the season to go a little bit easier than it did at first. We are finally coming into our own and things are getting easier for us... now if we can get the weather to cooperate! We have played a very competitive schedule and the team struggled to put it all together early in the season. I think they have made some big strides toward that at this point. We just have to finish strong.

Q)What have been the toughest challenges your team has faced?

A) Injuries and rain. We have had 3 kidney stones, 1 concussion, shoulder surgery, along with the normal illness and injury that you see in a season. We have rained out of 18 games right now. We will get to make up 10 of those. That has been stressful

Q)What are your team's strongest points?

A) We have a lot of depth at pitching and some strong seniors that are really leading the team.

Q)How do you expect this season to finish?

A) I think we will finish deep into the national tournament. We have some very important games coming up in the conference. If we can win regular season I feel that we will be on our way to a great finish.

Q)Do you have any favorite moments from the season so far?

A) We just had 2 great conference games a few weeks ago. We won both 1-0 on solo homeruns. It was great to see us play such close games and come away with victories. It was a great boost for us.

Q)Who are your team leaders or captains, on and off the court, and why?

A) We did not have captains this year. Bobbi Easler is a obvious team leader on the field. As the catcher is called on to be a vocal leader for this team. She is a motivator for the team in that she ALWAYS wants the team to play their best. If you watched a game you would notice her as a leader. We have players that lead by their playing on the field. We also have some that motivate by practicing with intensity each day and making their teammates stronger. Without those players hard work and dedication we would not be as solid as a team unit.

Q)For the players not graduating or leaving after this season, who do you see as being the most dynamic for the future of the team, and why?

A) It will be hard to replace Bobbi's experience. She has worked hard to get herself to this level where she can lead the defense and also work so well with the pitchers. That will be a big void to fill. Tiffany Walker has come in and nailed down third base. I do not have to worry about a ball getting past her. That will be a big place for someone to fill. These seniors are replacing kids that played and made huge impacts themselves. They came in and made that their spot and made their own marks. It is sad but exciting to see who the next great player will be. Brittany Rowe has been a great person to have on the team. She is a steadying force and has been a real benefit to the program.

Q)Since the year you began coaching at Lee, which team would you say has been your favorite (and why), and which one was the most talented?

A) I would have to say there were 2 years. 2004 we upset Union University to win our first conference tournament and later we won the region tournament to go to the National tournament. That was an awesome feeling and I love those girls for the commitment that they had to me and to the program. They were great because they were a true team with no real stars just solid and they believed in each other and stepped up to each challenge that they face together. 2006 would be another one...that was a special group of players. Just going over the lineup in my head makes me smile. We had so much talent and so much drive to win. That was a great record setting year. Those girls came in and took us to the next level. The players of today owe so much to the former teams and players... these two team in particular.

Q) Do you have any favorite specific quotes or coaching phrases that you like to say to your players?

A) "Did she go?" ok that is a joke. I say lots of stuff...Each girl or team probably has something that I say that they have made a favorite. A few years ago it was, "It's a great day for softball" and I said it on every rainy or cold day that nobody wanted to be at the field. I said it on good days too but it reminded us that this is a gift and we have to enjoy it each day. This year I have talked to the girls a lot about walls. We talked about how walls are put up not for us that want it but for those that don't want it bad enough. It just keeps us focused on overcoming things that happen... like rain!

Photos courtesy of Sports Information

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