Auburn, Ala.--Auburn’s leader in home runs with a dozen and No. 2 in RBI with 43, sophomore Kendall Veach is a player the Tigers will be counting on to help them advance through the NCAA Softball Tournament Auburn Regional that starts on Friday.
The Tigers come into the contest as the top seed in the four-team, double-elimination event with a 46-10 record, but played poorly in their last game, a 6-0 loss to LSU in the SEC Tournament semi-finals.
“I think it was more about our focus,” Veach said. “We were off that day. We talked a lot about that at practice, just getting ready. It was kind of like our little wakeup call, I thought. We are going to be ready for these next few weeks.”
Coach Clint Myers has been emphasizing fundamentals this week as the Tigers prepare for Friday’s 3:30 p.m. CDT contest at Jane B. Moore Field vs. Southern Conference Tournament champion East Tennessee State.
“Practice this week has been really crucial to us,” Veach said. “We had a lot of things to work on. It has been kind of like re-focusing for us. We are ready for a weekend full of challenges.”
The Cal Bears, the No. 2 seed in the regional, will open the tournament with a 1 p.m. game on Friday vs. No. 3 seed Notre Dame.
“They are going to be scrappy and they are going to bring their ‘A’ games so we have got to give it right back to them,” Veach said of the competition. “I think it will be a good weekend.”
Veach has started every game this season for the Tigers after playing in just 26 contests with 19 at-bats as a freshman in 2016. Her batting average of .228 is lower than expected based on her skills at the plate.
“I just kind of quit thinking about it because I was over-thinking it,” she said of her approach as a hitter. “I have really been like more relaxed and more confident. That has been good for me lately.”
Her two-run homer provided the winning margin in an SEC Tournament victory over Kentucky last week.
Kendall Veach has made numerous good defensive plays at first base this year.
Playing behind senior All-American Jade Rhodes last year, Veach had a limited role during the regular season and the postseason. This time around is different and Veach is eager to make a difference. “It is special for me,” she said of having the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament. “I want to do everything I can for this team.”
Auburn Regional Schedule (All Times CDT)