MSU softball holds media day

The Bulldogs open the season Friday, Feb. 9.

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 11:43 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - With the Bulldog Kickoff Classic and the 2018 season just three days away, the Mississippi State softball program held its annual media day at the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex.

Head coach Vann Stuedeman, senior infielder Morgan Bell and senior pitcher Holly Ward addressed the media on Tuesday, answering questions ranging from the potential of the newcomers to this weekend’s competition at the Bulldog Kickoff Classic.

A full transcript of today’s media session is below.

Stuedeman and the Bulldogs open their season Friday, Feb. 9 against Mississippi Valley State (3 p.m. CT) and Omaha (5:30 p.m. CT). MSU will then face off against Missouri State on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 12:30 p.m. CT. The field will then be seeded to determine the remaining weekend schedule. All of Friday and Saturday’s contests will be streamed on the SEC Network + via WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app. Admission is free to all fans.

For more on Mississippi State softball, follow the Bulldogs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for "HailStateSB." You can also find all-access coverage of the program on SnapChat by searching for "HailStateSnap".

Head Coach Vann Stuedeman

Opening statement…

“Thank you all for being here. This is Vanntastic. I’m impressed and very thankful for you all being here. Softball at Nusz Park is kicking off here on Friday, and we are fired up. We’ve got a great mix of old and new, seniority and freshmen punches. I’m looking forward to seeing these girls take over. We’ve been led by Alexis Silkwood, Caroline Seitz and Amanda Ivy for a long time. The juniors that are now seniors are getting to step into that role now. I’m excited to see them shine. I’m proud of the work they have put in with their leadership skills. We have nine freshmen and a tenth new person who’s a transfer, so these seniors and juniors have done a great job of getting those kids in our culture. They have led those kids in the direction that Bulldog softball is to be played. They’ve done a great job of being an extension of the coaching staff. I’m proud of their leadership skills, and I’m ready to see them get out and get the spotlight.”

On the potential of this team this season…

“We will be heavily relying on two senior pitchers, Holly Ward and Cassidy Knudsen. We’re replacing Alexis Silkwood, who pitched 153 innings, so we will need to eat that up. It is really on Holly to decide how good we are going to be. Morgan Bell will have to pick up for Caroline Seitz and Olivia Golden. We don’t need to have just one Caroline Seitz. If everyone in the lineup increases two or three RBIs, we cover through a spread. We can all pitch in just a little bit and eat up the RBIs we were getting from Caroline. In the circle, we have two seniors and three newcomers: a redshirt sophomore, sophomore transfer and a true freshman. It’s going to be Vann-style and Bulldog-style softball-- pitch by committee. I think our team is as good as anyone out there. Our league is incredible. We sent all 13 teams to the NCAA playoffs last year. I don’t see a drop off this year. I see everyone returning. On any given day, we can win against any given opponent.”

On preparing newcomers…

“We’ve relied a lot on these juniors and seniors. This group of juniors and seniors has had interesting careers in that they’ve played behind a lot of people here. The junior class came in very scared, so as juniors they have really grown. It has impressed me every day. They do something to show how much they’ve grown up. I’ve relied on this junior and senior class to say to these freshmen, who are not scared, ‘seize the moment and don’t wait like we did’. You can say it all you want, but it’s impactful when it comes from girls like Kat Moore and Sarai Nui. The thing about softball in the last five years is it has blown up on TV. With the SEC Network and ESPN, it’s awesome and such a great venue. The kids coming in have watched people on TV. This is real and making a huge impact. That is something new to me that we’re trying to battle. Those junior kids had to believe they were as good as the kids they were seeing on TV. The freshmen class has played on TV. They’ve put the summer league games on TV. You’re able to recruit on the computer now. In summer ball, these newcomers are getting the exposure, so they are more prepared for the college frenzy. I think you will be surprised. We have some very good freshmen.“

Sr. RHP Holly Ward

On taking on more responsibility at the pitcher’s mound…

“We’re really excited. Like Vann said we really focus on a staff. It’s just like previous years, we’re just going to continue to roll with the punches. We all play a major role, so we’re just really excited for that.”

On advice to new pitchers…

“We are all just excited, and we’re ready. The advice that I give them would be that to know that you can. And that’s something that I’ve learned from pitching in the SEC and being a senior. If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. Just go out there and know you can and dominate the best you can.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 297321

Reported Deaths: 6805
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19814231
Hinds18949395
Harrison16886282
Rankin12842265
Jackson12750234
Lee9720163
Madison9516204
Jones8035148
Forrest7289138
Lauderdale6872228
Lowndes6061140
Lamar593381
Lafayette5767114
Washington5232130
Bolivar4630124
Oktibbeha443095
Panola433698
Pearl River4212132
Warren4144115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall405995
Monroe3996129
Union397174
Neshoba3848171
Lincoln3624104
Hancock352978
Leflore3400121
Sunflower320986
Tate303974
Pike302697
Scott296171
Alcorn292763
Yazoo292066
Itawamba290675
Coahoma283069
Tippah280065
Copiah279959
Simpson277581
Prentiss271258
Marion258878
Wayne255641
Leake254172
Covington250280
Grenada248878
Adams235778
George232745
Newton232753
Winston222179
Jasper214145
Tishomingo213266
Attala206971
Chickasaw201954
Holmes182870
Clay179452
Stone173429
Tallahatchie171739
Clarke170773
Calhoun158628
Smith153833
Yalobusha145736
Greene128133
Walthall125441
Montgomery123540
Noxubee123431
Perry123235
Lawrence121421
Carroll119425
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99824
Claiborne99030
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper91423
Quitman77514
Franklin76420
Choctaw70117
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62727
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499411

Reported Deaths: 10149
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson719951403
Mobile36396741
Madison32674469
Tuscaloosa24391423
Montgomery22789523
Shelby22250219
Baldwin19915289
Lee15070161
Calhoun13961296
Morgan13785255
Etowah13413327
Marshall11458215
Houston10121264
Elmore9509190
Limestone9435139
St. Clair9050228
Cullman8993183
Lauderdale8628214
DeKalb8507175
Talladega7643165
Walker6600260
Jackson6551104
Autauga634492
Blount6252128
Colbert6007121
Coffee5261104
Dale4680107
Russell407534
Franklin400779
Covington3996107
Chilton3911104
Escambia379473
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3432111
Dallas3428142
Pike292973
Marion288796
Lawrence285787
Winston258568
Bibb246058
Marengo244657
Geneva240270
Pickens225757
Barbour213851
Hale212569
Fayette202657
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178140
Monroe166739
Randolph165141
Washington157036
Macon147845
Crenshaw146755
Clay146254
Cleburne140141
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123225
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter100832
Coosa90324
Greene88732
Choctaw55723
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