Auburn, Ala.--Coach Clint Myers said prior to Thursday’s practice that his softball team, despite being ranked No. 2 nationally in RPI with a 34-6 record, needs to improve in a variety of areas as the Tigers prepare for a three-game home series vs. Missouri.
Prior to taking the field on Thursday, Auburn’s coaches and players met to talk about ways to get better. “It was a good meeting--an excellent meeting,” Myers said.
“We discussed what we are going to have to do to win,” he said. “We all came to a consensus.
“In order to win the way we want to, we have to be a lot more consistent,” Myers said. “We have to be a lot more focused in practice. We have to play better defense. We have to be able to barrel the ball when we swing.”
The veteran coach said he is going to go to extra lengths to make sure all of the players comprehend and learn everything they are being taught in practices. “The key thing with us is we have to make sure they understand what we are trying to teach so there is going to be a lot more dialogue.”
Myers added that he is trying to figure out ways to do a better job of helping the 2017 Tigers improve. “I want to be the best teacher out there,” he said, noting that he is still learning despite being a Hall of Fame coach.
The coach noted he likes how freshman Alyssa Rivera has stepped up and played well in right field while also hitting well at the plate. “She is having a pretty good time,” said Myers, who noted that the outfielder has “untapped potential” to keep improving as she gains experience and learns more about the game. “She is so far from being her final player,” he said.
Another freshman who hs moved in to the starting lineup, Carmyn Greenwood in left field, is getting another shot to be the starter there after a slow start to the regular season. “She is working hard, she is trying hard,” Myers said. “The biggest is we have got to make sure these youngsters aren’t trying too hard, but they are trying smarter.”
Another freshman, K.K. Crocker, has been trying to win the second base job, but that position is still in flux. Crocker, who has battled an injury and illness, made her fifth start in Wednesday night’s 6-3 win vs. Georgia State.
Casey McCrackin, who has started 29 games at second base, has struggled at the plate and with her fielding consistency.
Whitney Jordan is shown in action during the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers are also working Whitney Jordan, who has started a dozen games in the outfield, at second base. Jordan is hitting just .129 after batting .228 as the starter at shortstop last year filling in for Haley Fagan, who was injured.
Another player at the position, Emily Spain, is not practicing with the team. “She has taken a leave of absence,” Myers said. “She will not be with us until the end of the year. She has been seeing a doctor. She needed some time and she has got it.” Spain had started six times at second base and was batting .071.
The Tigers, who are 8-4 in SEC play, will take on a Missouri team at 6 p.m. CDT on Friday that is 23-16 overall and 4-7 in the league.
“We can go out there and determine our own destiny,” Myers said of his team.
He added, “We are just going out and taking it one day at a time to be the best ballclub. I anticipate today being the best practice we have had all year. The most important game we are going to play all year is Friday. When that one is over the next most important game we are going to play is Saturday. We have to take it just that way.”
Saturday’s game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start and first pitch for Sunday’s game is set for 2 p.m.