by Caleb Thomas
Sports just wouldn’t be the same without fans. Last weekend, Troy’s baseball and softball teams took the time to show their appreciation before the season gets into gear.
“It was neat to see how many fans came out and supported the softball and baseball teams,” said Head Softball Coach Eric Newell. “It was my first time being a part of fan day at Troy, but it went really well.”
Newell is going into his first year with the Trojans after seeing plenty of success in eight years at Auburn University at Montgomery. According to Newell, having more fans can boost team morale and contribute to the recent progress of the softball team, which advanced to the NCAA Regionals in 2021.
“It’s such a big deal to get a lot of people there, and it makes the girls feel so important,” Newell said. “Getting those fans there is so pivotal to our success.”
Fan Day kicked off with intrasquad scrimmages for baseball and softball respectively, giving fans their first look at this year’s teams. Later in the day, the teams gathered prior to Troy’s basketball game to sign posters for fans.
Both teams are going through transitions: softball has a new coaching staff, while the Trojans baseball team will play at a revamped Riddle-Pace field. Despite these setbacks, offseason preparations have still gone well.
While Newell doesn’t ignore the challenges of adjusting to a new team and a new environment, he credits the players with making the transition smooth.
“The players have really shown out, and we’ve got a great work ethic on the team,” Newel said.“It’s been a really enjoyable experience so far.”
Softball starts their season at home on Friday against SIUE. The first pitch is set for 2 p.m. at the Troy Softball Complex.
Under second-year head coach Skylar Meade, Troy Baseball will try to build on the resurgent 2022 season.
“[Baseball Head Coach] Meade and all the other coaches are preparing us every day,” said Brady Fuller, a right-handed pitcher for the Trojans’ baseball team. “We’ve got guys competing every day to get better.”
Fuller and the rest of the baseball team finished 32-24 in 2022, placing sixth in the Sun Belt Conference. This season, they look to go even further.
“Winning the Sun Belt is our main goal,” Fuller said. “It means a lot to us, and it means a lot to the coaching staff.”
Baseball will begin its season a bit later than softball, with the first game scheduled for Feb. 17 against Evansville.