Before games, Syracuse runs practices to integrate its younger players into the team and ease the pressure of the season. “With girls, you have to feel good to play well,” assistant coach and hitting specialist Alisa Goler said. For much of the season, Syracuse has struggled offensively, ranking at the bottom of the ACC in nearly every offensive category. The Orange is 10th in batting average (.233), slugging percentage (.370), runs scored (134), and RBI (116), and ninth in doubles (36), total bases (363) and total plate appearances (1104). The Orange believe a lot of its struggles, however, do not come from technique, but from a lack of confidence. Part of what’s helped this season is “feel-good” day practices. Junior pitcher and infielder Sydney O’Hara, who leads the team in runs batted in (23), believes that players put too much pressure on themselves coming out of high school to perform well. “Everyone expects for you to (do) great things in college,” O’Hara said. “You have one bad game and you’re like, ‘Wow, people are going to look at me and be like what is she doing?’”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse is filled with young players this season, as 13 of the Orange’s 19 players are underclassmen. Those “feel-good” days were most helpful for helping those young players assimilate. The practices are filled with front-toss batting practice, vision drills and practicing repetitions in drills where making contact with the ball isn’t supposed to be difficult. The aim of the drills is to improve fundamentals. “You have to learn to bounce back from whatever happened the game before,” O’Hara said. This week, with a matchup against North Carolina State over the weekend, Goler said the Orange will have a “feel-good” day followed by work on the pitching machine to work on the players’ vision seeing the ball. “In the fall, it was a time to get to know our kids and their swings and what they struggled with,” Goler said. “Two out of three players were new members.”This process will be the same, Goler said, until 2018 when she will have personally recruited each player in the system. Until then, the Orange have to lead on their top hitters to give the rest of the team confidence. When No. 1 and No. 2 hitters Sammy Fernandez and Maddie Doane are getting on base, the rest of the team feeds off of their success. In the last few weeks, Syracuse has made strides offensively. In the last five games its scored 33 runs. Head coach Mike Bosch has noticed the improvement, and believes it’s added for a more relaxed team. “Our last two weekends we’ve really taken some steps forward offensively,” Bosch said. “It takes pressure off our defense and our pitching.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 12, 2016 at 11:14 pm Contact Jack: [email protected]
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