Blazer Softball Announces 2017 Schedule

| December 28, 2016

VALDOSTA – The newest season of Valdosta State softball is right around the corner, and the schedule is set for another exciting year.

Head Coach Thomas Macera, who enjoyed a historic season in 2016 after earning his 700th collegiate victory and 500thcareer win at Valdosta State, will lead his team into battle for the first time this season on February 4th in Gulf Shores, Ala. for a four-game stint at the Gulf Shores Invitational Tournament.

Macera’s program has always been notorious for taking on challenging non-conference opponents early in the year, and the 2017 slate will be no exception, as VSU kicks off the aforementioned Gulf Shores Invitational against No. 9 North Georgia.

Following a midweek doubleheader against Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Albany State on February 8th, the Blazers will have the privilege of competing for the first time ever in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic. The invite-only tournament will take place in Clearwater, Fla. and will pit Valdosta State against five different teams, including No. 11 Wayne State and Catawba, a team receiving votes as a potential top-25 nationally ranked program.

The NFCA Leadoff Classic, set to begin on February 10th, will serve as VSU’s final test before the squad kicks off a treacherous Gulf South Conference schedule on February 18th in Memphis, Tenn. against the Christian Brothers Lady Bucs. The GSC features four teams currently in the mix among the nation’s top-25 ranked teams, with the reigning National Champion North Alabama Lions leading the way. Joining UNA in the discussion of the nation’s best are Les Stuedeman’s ever-dangerous Alabama-Huntsville Chargers, along with the Blazers and the Argonauts of West Florida, who are each receiving votes in the national poll.

Valdosta State will look for leadership from a host of key returners in 2017, including seniors Chelsea Canara, Heather Robinson, and Hayley Cruthers. The trio combined for 26 home runs last year with 163 hits, 27 doubles, 118 RBI’s, and 100 runs scored. In addition, junior outfielders Brandy Morgan and Taylor Hartenbach will return to bolster the lineup and anchor the Blazers’ defensive unit.

Macera’s squad features 11 new players this season, set to join 12 returners. In terms of academic class, the team breaks down into nine freshman, five sophomores, four juniors, and five seniors.

For more information as the season approaches, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@BlazerAthletics), Facebook (Valdosta State Athletics), and Instagram (valdostastateathletics). Also, be sure to contact the Blazer Ticket Office at 229-333-SEAT today to purchase season tickets for the upcoming baseball and softball seasons.

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