By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Baylor softball is set to begin its season in early February, and the team is setting its sights higher than before.
Last season’s group was young with newcomers, and it finished fourth in the Big 12 with a record of 32-34, which wasn’t enough to make the postseason. However, after a motivating offseason, the squad is ready to get to work and reach new heights.
“It’s what you work for,” head coach Glenn Moore said. “You practice during the summer, you lift and condition during the summer, you practice during the fall, bring in recruits and establish your team. We’re excited to be out [in the] beautiful weather, beautiful stadium, and I’m excited about this team.”
Despite three Big 12 foes being in the top 15 of preseason rankings, Moore said he’s not concerned with polls or the fact that his team struggled in the 2022 season. He said the roughness of last season is part of what makes this year’s group dangerous.
“I don’t put a whole lot of emphasis on the preseason rankings, especially when you’re a young team like we were,” Moore said. “We were young last year, but this year we’re young with experience. You handle adversity much better if you’ve been there and you’ve walked through that fire before.The team with experience is going to know how to handle it a lot better.”
Even though the team did not make the cut for the NCAA tournament last year, the Bears ended the season on a high note by winning the National Invitational Softball Championship. Junior catcher Sydney Collazos said the tournament win was a good way for the team to go into the offseason.
“The good thing about our chemistry last year is that it’s rolling over to this year,” Collazos said. “We were all committed to that tournament and we brought back some hardware and now we know what we’re really capable of. We know that we could have done some damage in the NCAA tournament, and we know we can
especially this year.”
Moore said there are plenty of tough challenges on the upcoming schedule and that the team will have to stay consistent in practice to overcome the more experienced programs. Moore added that despite last year and preseason opinions, he thinks this Bears team is going to surprise people and turn a lot of heads.
“We have a schedule that will allow us to feel good about ourselves one day and take it on the chin the next day and have to go back to work,” Moore said. “This team’s going to be very competitive. They’re going to stretch people, I think. I really like the culture we have right now. I like the way they fight, the way they look when nobody’s looking, and I think that will pay off when we get under the lights on the field. I expect pretty big things out of them.”
Baylor will open its season on Feb. 10 with a doubleheader against Southern Utah University and Weber State University. Both contests are part of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Tournament at Eller Media Stadium in Las Vegas.