Last week was a long week for your Boilermaker softball team. We traveled to Penn State for a double header on Wednesday then made it home for a three game series with #21 Nebraska. Hopefully you were able to watch a part of our games at Penn State on the Big Ten Network. It was a chore just trying to get there. When we fly into State College, it seems like we take the smallest plane possible. It is almost like chartering our own flight because of the 29 seats available, Purdue Softball occupies 25. Little planes do not always handle the crazy spring weather so well. It was a little bit bumpy trying to get through the stormy sky last Tuesday night when we headed from our layover in Washington D.C. over to Pennsylvania. Some of us like the excitement and treated it as a rollercoaster, but others didn’t handle it so well. There were a few squeals of anxiety coming from the back of the plane and a collective sigh of relief when the wheels hit the runway.
Coming home was much less eventful. We took the earliest flight out of State College to come home Thursday morning and made it back to campus just after noon. It was a blessing in disguise having to get up so early for that flight because when more storms came our way that afternoon, all flights into Chicago and Indianapolis were cancelled. Trying to find a way for a group of 25 to make it back home to Indiana would have been a nightmare. We had a 24-hour turnaround to catch up on sleep and be ready to play Nebraska on Friday.
We were hit hard again Friday with the unpredictable weather. We were about to start warming up for the first game of the series and snow-like objects started to fall from the sky. Because the real feel was going to drop below 28 degrees during the game, it was cancelled about 20 minutes before the first pitch was scheduled. Friday’s game was moved to Saturday when it was sunny and still cold, then we rounded out the series on Sunday with a big 6-5 win. We plan to take that momentum we started to build up on Sunday into Wednesday’s home game with Valpo and into the weekend for our Big Ten match up at Northwestern.
After all of our home games, our parents put on a tailgate for the players, friends, and family. We can always count on great food and a lively atmosphere after a hard day’s work at the field. We just want to say thank you to all of those parents who give their time and effort making the magic happen.
Make sure to make it out to the softball field on Wednesday at 4 p.m. when we take on Valparaiso. Also, mark your calendars for our final Big Ten home series coming up against Iowa May 3-5. We are down to seven regular season games left so time is running out to catch a game this season. See you Wednesday!

-AC

Each year, there is a Crimson and Gold Cup race which keeps track of all of the competitions between Indiana and Purdue. We can chalk one point up for the Boilers because Purdue Softball just swept the Hoosiers this past weekend and, to tell you the truth, it was about time. Over my four years, this season marks the first complete sweep over IU. What a feeling!
IU did get a new stadium this year, so that was exciting for us to play in. Each time we go somewhere that has a nice stadium or a newly built stadium, we all take mental notes of what we like and do not like. I won’t have the opportunity to play in our new stadium in two years but I still ask Coach Maher to include certain features. For me, I like sunken dugouts, the flag pole in dead centerfield, and REAL DIRT. There is just something about sliding into second base and having to brush yourself off because you are covered in dirt. Growing up, we all played travel ball which would mean playing five or six games in a day. If you were not caked in dirt, you weren’t playing hard enough. My mom would put down towels for me to sit on before I was allowed to get into the car. A lot of collegiate softball programs are moving towards synthetic dirt. It is great for maintenance and it gives the ball a great bounce for slappers. However, when a player slides, she comes up with no dirt on her leg and that just is not softball. Hopefully when our new stadium is built, I will be able to come back and play in an alumni game and need to brush myself off, at least a little.
The plans have already been drawn up for our new field, but what would you like to see most at the new stadium? Tweet @PurdueSoftball or comment below with your suggestions!
This week we are headed east to face Penn State in a midweek double header. We will be live on the Big Ten Network so tune in on Wednesday at 5 and 7 p.m. for a couple of quality games. We will fly out Tuesday afternoon and return midday on Thursday, so it is a quick turnaround for us as we will be preparing for Nebraska this weekend. This week is a very important five-game stretch for Purdue Softball. This weekend we got back to .500 in Big Ten play and we can put ourselves in a very good position with a few more wins starting Wednesday.
You may remember that we played Nebraska early on in the season when we were in the warm weather of Arizona. It was a close game but the Huskers came out on top. It is time for the Boilermaker to make a statement in West Lafayette. We hope to see you there on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday marks our Blackout Game, Saturday is Alumni Day/Social Media Day, and Sunday is Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day.

-AC

I woke up this morning and it hit me that I will be celebrating senior day in less than one month.  It is crazy to think back over the past four years and realize what myself and two of my best friends have gone through. It is just ridiculous that our senior year is almost over. After a moment of panic, I realized we still have another month and a half to make it great. 

 We got to play at home this weekend, finally. The results weren’t exactly what we were hoping for, but we learned a little bit about each other and ourselves over the three game series with Michigan State. Going into this week hopefully we can mature a little bit as a group and play great softball. We are at Loyola on Tuesday (this game was rescheduled from earlier in the year) and we have a doubleheader against Ball State on Wednesday here in West Lafayette. This weekend is a big series at Indiana and we have the opportunity to play in their new stadium. We will be headed down to Bloomington to do whatever it takes to bring home three wins.

 Speaking of new stadiums, ours has just been approved by the board and will be completed for the 2015 season. This is extremely exciting for our program as facilities help tremendously with recruiting. I realize I will be long gone and forgotten by then, but I will definitely be back to run the bases on the new field. Thank you to everyone who helped get the project moving forward. 

 This weekend we celebrated Military Appreciation Day, Greek Day, and Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Cancer day is very important to our team as there are many of us who have been affected by all types of cancer over the past several years. The first pitch on Sunday was thrown out by senior mom Karee Petruzzi. She is a 15-year breast cancer survivor, but not so much a softball pitcher.  Apparently she gave all of her talents to her daughters because her first pitch went straight up and straight down. We loved the confidence though when she asked for a second pitch, this one got a little bit closer to the plate but I still think it hit a satellite first. Softball skills aside, congratulations to Karee and all others who have won their battle with cancer.  This week, tweet @PurdueSoftball or comment below with a shoutout to someone in your life who is currently fighting or has won their battle with cancer. 

Sunday night marked the first ever Golden Pete Awards show. The ceremony is an updated version of the Senior Salute that has happened in the past. I must say I did feel pretty special having my picture taken as I walked in on the gold carpet. There were interviews going on to keep the audience entertained before the show and one of the questions was “How did you pick out your outfit for tonight?”  Guys typically just throw something on but girls are more apt to preplanning. There was a lot of talk in the softball locker room about what we were all going to wear, but since I heard about the dress code I knew what I was going with: a black dress with a big red belt and my favorite pair of heels.  My mom picked me up and we went to grab a bite to eat real quickly before the show. Note to self: when wearing nice clothes, do not operate the ketchup bottle. When I took of the cap, the ketchup exploded all over my dress and in my hair. Needless to say, I was not showing up the first Golden Pete Awards show with ketchup as an accessory. My mom and I ran back to my house so I could change, and I think I tried on three more dresses before finding a suitable replacement. Everything was fine after that and no one knew a thing. It was when I was onstage that I realized the ketchup had made my hair hard and my fingers got stuck as I tried to nonchalantly put my hair behind my ears. 

The Golden Petes show was a great experience overall and I definitely hope it grows into a big-time tradition. Congratulations to both Ariel Turner and Robert Maci for winning the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor as you both rightly deserve the award. To my fellow seniors, congratulations on surviving the rigorous workouts, the long road trips, and the hours of practice coupled with the endless amount of homework. It is a bittersweet feeling but the next chapter of our lives is about to start, and promises a lot of excitement. Lucky for those of us in spring sports, we get to keep playing!

 -AC

 

I am supposed to be writing to you about our first home games but then… Mother Nature strikes again! Our team faced a little bit of adversity this past weekend when we moved the series against Ohio State to Columbus, because white snow still covered our playing turf. We got the news Wednesday night so we rushed to get our academics in order for the rest of the week and got on the bus at 9:30 Friday morning. We ate lunch then headed straight to the field for a Friday night game against the Buckeyes. Our bats made strong appearances in the first two games this weekend and we ended up taking two out of three of the games. We had the opportunity to sweep but could not get the nail in the coffin on Sunday. We handled the adversity well, but we are ready for next weekend when (keep your fingers crossed) we get to play on our own home field.

We have an Easter weekend tradition where the parents put together baskets for us to have each year on Easter Sunday. We always look forward to them and they never disappoint. This year’s basket included candy, nail polish, socks, and of course, a solid chocolate bunny, as well as much more. Shout out to our fantastic parents who always do a superb job putting them together. The trading that happens once the baskets are on the bus is like the NFL offseason: everyone goes after what they want. I will pretty much give you anything for a chocolate bunny. Many of us participate in Lent and give up some sort of sweet treat, so diving into the Easter basket on the ride home is more than satisfying. Tweet @PurdueSoftball with your favorite treat to indulge in, especially on Easter.

This week we have IUPUI on our plate for Wednesday. We travel to Indy for a doubleheader, so if there are any Purdue Softball fans in the area, we would love to have you at the games. Next weekend, we take on Michigan State here in West Lafayette and we have a great opportunity to win us a few ball games. We are looking forward to our first tailgate of the year and we are itching to get on our own dirt. Prayers for softball weather would be appreciated (anything above 50 degrees as long as it’s sunny). Come out next weekend to watch us take on the Spartans from East Lansing, but first keep track of our games through Twitter or purduesports.com on Wednesday.

-AC

As promised …

March 27, 2013

Here is a short video that shows off Purdue Softball’s skills that go beyond the diamond. We certainly had fun at the Lucky Run ranch over Spring Break. If nothing else, hopefully this provides you with a good laugh.

http://youtu.be/zZR-qIsHHPc

Hope everyone has a fantastic day! Can’t wait to see you all this weekend when we take on Ohio State.

-AC

softball

…and it’s snowing. It is not the ideal situation for a softball player when it snows in late March. Here’s to hoping it stops, the field is in good shape, and we still get in the first pitch on Wednesday at 4p.m. We are scheduled to play UIC and, since it is our first home game, you can imagine our excitement. We have been on the road for quite some time now so coming back to familiar territory will be a great thing for our team.

This weekend is Easter and what a better way to celebrate than a three-game series with Ohio State. Why not come out and celebrate with some of your favorite Boilermakers?

With the crazy spring weather we seem to be experiencing, I want you to keep in mind to stay connected with Purdue Sports and watch for updates about possible schedule changes. It may be chilly, but we do not want you to miss a pitch at the Varsity Softball Complex during this home stretch.

This week I want to shed a little light about what happens at practice. There are 20 of us on the roster, and we appear to be athletic. Our sport involves a lot of hand-eye coordination, so you would think that we have great balance and a little bit of grace. If only this was true. Last week, Erika was playing centerfield during a scrimmage. She turned to go back on a fly ball and just ate turf. We claim that she tripped over the white lines on the Mollenkopf field but that was just us giving her an excuse. I could call out E and claim to not have any good stories of my own but this is just simply not true. Ironically, my fall came when I was trying to help a teammate. So much for good karma! We were working on defense while the pitchers and catchers were hitting off the tee so I put a net behind first base, just in case of an overthrow. I did not want the ball to hit anyone so I was just thinking ahead. A ball was hit behind first base and in foul territory so as I took a drop set to catch it, I ran straight into the net and it basically carried me down to the ground. We definitely got a good laugh out of that one.

Now that you all have heard about two of our many graceful falls, we want to hear about your not so pretty steps. Comment below, tweet @purduesoftball, or email Whats_your_20@hotmail.com with the story of your fall that got a good laugh.

Hope to see you at Boilermaker Softball Complex this week.

-AC

March 19, 2013

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We’re back from Spring Break and getting ready for the Big Ten season. We will be traveling to Ann Arbor to start conference play this weekend. We were supposed to go to the Windy City on Wednesday to face Loyola, but that will have to wait until later in the season because it is too cold and their field isn’t ready. After five weeks of play down south, we are ready to stay in the Midwest for a while. We have nothing to lose from here on out and we are looking to make a splash the second half of the season.

Over Spring Break we had a day off midweek and spent our time as a team at Lucky Run Ranch. We indulged ourselves with brisket, turkey, and smoked sausage. We competed for bragging rights playing rodeo games that our gracious hosts had set up for us. We laughed all day and had the chance to relax our minds. We were able to meet the miniature donkeys and a couple of horses too. Our team’s musical talents even came to the surface. There may be a video or two floating around on Facebook of a musical performance that is definitely worth checking out. The ranch had a recording studio and those of us who actually have real musical talent (Andie, Fletch, and Sydney) were able to put their abilities together and amaze us with their final product.

One of the games we played was to simulate barrel racing. Remember the stick with a horse’s head attached to it that we all had when we were little? Putting two people on one of those and running around cones is the Purdue Softball version of barrel racing. Words cannot do our gracefulness justice. I may just have to put together a video for the readers out there.

When we go on our Spring Break trip each year we know and love that we are there for softball. With that being said, we always appreciate a little bit of free time or the chance to experience something new. Going to the ranch as a team really gave us the opportunity to enjoy each other and step outside our own little world for a few hours. So thank you to our coaches for setting up the outing; to Oscar, our bus driver, for getting us there safely; and to the Connor family for opening their home to our Purdue Softball family.

-AC

Lucky Lucky Lindsey …

March 4, 2013

SanMarcos
This weekend was a great weekend to be a Boilermaker as we won all five contests against our Texas opponents. Next weekend, we head back to the Lone Star State to take on Baylor in a three-game series before heading over to Sam Houston State and Houston for weekday games. The Saturday doubleheader and single game on Sunday will be a great challenge for us because Baylor is ranked in the top 25 and it will help our team prepare for the Big Ten season that is right around the corner.
We have a running joke on our team that centerfielder Lindsey Rains is the luckiest of us all. Some of the things that happen to her just seem very unlikely, but we always get a good laugh out of the stories. This weekend we were joking about the Twitter account Bad Luck Brian (@badluckbrian) and decided there should be a Good Luck Lindsey version. We started scheming up ideas about the things that would or could happen to Lindsey. For instance, bases loaded, three and two count, seventh inning, tie game, called third strike, Illegal pitch. (For those of you who don’t know, an illegal pitch means there would be a ball on the batter and all runners would move up one base, regardless of the count). You can now all follow @Good_luck_linds on Twitter and keep up with the “lucky” things that happen to Purdue Softball because of Lindsey Rains.
Sometimes after a long weekend we really like to challenge our fine motor skills. Coming home on Sunday, Erika Petruzzi and Lauren Grant had me stand on my left foot and move my right foot clockwise. Then I had to make a six with my right index finger. You really have to concentrate to make your foot continue going clockwise! If you’re reading this, you know you are going to try it so if you are left handed try it with your left foot and left finger.
We have a lot of fun on the road and we like to laugh. We find a lot of our entertainment through Twitter accounts, like this past weekend, and YouTube videos. If you know of anything we should be laughing at send it to me via email (whats_your_20@hotmail.com). Make sure it’s clean though, because we decided that clean humor takes more effort and is by default funnier. It’s Spring Break next week, so instead of homework we have to keep ourselves occupied somehow!

-AC

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Each year we see a different trend of TV shows or movies that the girls on the team like to watch. This year, Pitch Perfect is the movie of choice as we have one or two good singers on the team … and some not so good singers that still like to belt it out. However, while Pitch Perfect is holding its own, scary movies are starting to creep into the mix with a not-so-gentle push from Coach DeFeo.

We landed in Houston Thursday and stopped for a quick bite to eat. Our coaches got to talking to a lady in the restaurant and she told them an old tale about the road we were soon to be traveling down. She said there was a lady who haunts the road and is wearing all white. Supposedly when it is really dark you can see her ghostly figure from the car. Naturally, Coach DeFeo tried to scare us a little bit and may have exaggerated when she said the ghost would hop in the car. Over the next hour, the car ride to the hotel was spent retelling scary stories and talking about which movies frightened us the most. Personally, I jump when someone says boo, let alone when a possessed human being walks out of the woods, so I want to say thank you to my van for the wonderful bedtime stories. Regardless, I think we are all looking forward to the future bus trips when Coach puts in a horror film to entertain us.

We have taken a lot of plane rides and pretty much have the seating chart down pat. Typically we are all bunched together as one group at the back of the plane, but there is the rare occasion when we are spread out up and down the aisles. On our flight to Houston this past weekend, I was in the middle seat between two middle-aged gentlemen. On planes, you never know if you are going to get: the guy that hogs the arm rest, the lady who can’t seem to shake a cough, or the screaming kid who likes to kick your seat from behind. I got lucky this time around. When I got to talking with one of the men, I learned he was about to retire from the Navy where he served as a pilot. We talked nonstop for the entire two and half hour flight. He enlightened me as he told stories about being in the military and he bragged about his daughter, as all good dads do. I shared a little bit about softball and my own life. He kept saying how he was sorry he was taking me away from my homework. (I kept insisting that it was truly okay because I’m a Public Relations major and we like to talk).
In honor of this man, instead of a question of the week, comment below or tweet @PurdueSoftball with a thank you or shout out to anyone you know who has served or is currently serving our country. It is important that we recognize the sacrifice made by them and their families and that we offer a firm handshake when we have the chance.

Next week we are back on another flight to Texas; heading to San Marcos this time around. Keep your eyes on purduesports.com for updates.

Oh and the dancer on the team is freshman pitcher Lilly Fecho. If you guessed wrong, don’t worry, we didn’t expect it either.

-AC

As a Division I softball team, we are fortunate enough to get to travel around the United States experiencing different campuses, climates and cities.  This past weekend we definitely got a good glimpse of Tucson.  
We rent four vans each weekend when we fly.  Each player is assigned a certain van with a coach and everyone’s luggage goes in the 15 passenger van that our SID drives.  This weekend, however, we were thrown for a loop when the coaches pulled up to the airport curb with a two 15 passenger vans, an SUV, and a pickup truck.  It’s not how we usually roll, but we went with it.  I ended up riding shotgun in the truck with Coach Stephenson, Maia, Rains, and Burk.  Talk about a power truck.  For those of you who don’t know Coach S, she is very entertaining and provided us with many laughs and life insights.  
Many of those laughs came as we got our own personal tour of Tucson, Ariz., because we went thirty minutes farther to a restaurant when one was located about five minutes off campus.  But, those thirty minutes were worth every second because we ended up eating at Beyond Bread (thanks to a fellow Boilermaker for the recommendation).  To the Beyond Bread franchise, please make a home in West Lafayette and thank you for the three fabulous meals we consumed over the weekend, as well as the quick service and great people.  
We have a handful of California kids on our team and whenever we get the chance to go west, they beg for In-N-Out.  As we were headed to the field on Friday, we missed a turn and detoured through the In-N-Out parking lot.  Even for an Indiana kid, that’s cruel.  I can only imagine the heartbreak from a few of our most devoted In-N-Out eaters.  
We have a lot of talent on our team, but that’s not only on the softball field.  As it turns out, we have found we have another dancer on the team.  A certain freshman’s good moves gave us some laughs and excitement to play.  There are five to pick from. Let us know who you think it was?  Send your vote via Twitter @PurdueSoftball or comment below.  
Right now we stand at .500 and next weekend won’t be a walk in the park.  We have a quick turnaround before heading back down to Indy to catch a flight to College Station, Texas, but we are ready to make a statement at A&M.

-AC

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