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.

Confirmed Cases: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5269106
DeSoto332627
Madison229756
Harrison215232
Rankin214628
Jackson199434
Jones177457
Forrest164053
Washington149232
Lauderdale132988
Lee123930
Neshoba119788
Lamar112112
Oktibbeha105435
Lowndes98932
Warren96427
Scott95517
Bolivar94832
Copiah91724
Panola91211
Sunflower90822
Lafayette88111
Holmes84747
Leflore84059
Pike83232
Grenada81320
Yazoo78611
Leake76825
Lincoln74540
Pontotoc7377
Wayne73321
Simpson71227
Monroe70250
Coahoma66310
Tate65023
Marion60118
Covington58811
Adams58425
Marshall5718
Winston57115
George5475
Union53113
Newton51611
Attala49824
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48536
Walthall45318
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee41910
Claiborne40013
Smith38013
Calhoun3788
Jasper3768
Clay37013
Alcorn3574
Prentiss3426
Hancock33614
Tishomingo3204
Lawrence3135
Tippah31212
Yalobusha31210
Itawamba30710
Clarke30025
Montgomery2933
Tunica2786
Humphreys27111
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Quitman2251
Kemper22315
Perry2227
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis2026
Webster19912
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1523
Choctaw1274
Benton1250
Franklin1162
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 90890

Reported Deaths: 1611
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
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