PREPARATION: Becca Hartley and the Troy Trojans softball team are gearing up for the start of the 2016 season
Published 3:00 am Thursday, January 21, 2016
With the start of 2016 softball season just three weeks away, junior Becca Hartley and the Troy Trojans have their eyes set on a Sun Belt Conference crown.
Last year was a whirlwind for Hartley, who started in all 55 games and lead the team with 10 homeruns, including two against 10th-ranked Florida State. Hartley’s .288 batting average and 10 homeruns were good enough for her to be named to the All Sun Belt Conference second team.
This season the Charles Henderson alum has her eyes set on taking the next step.
“I have more confidence,” Hartley said. “I am believing in my abilities and my team. I have trust that my team is going to be there backing me up no matter what.”
In her first two seasons at Troy, Hartley has played all over the field and according to head coach Beth Mullins there is only one word to describe the utility player.
“Athlete is the word; she is an athlete,” Mullins said. “When we have team expectations and we bring them individually, one of her expectations is to be the ultimate utility player. She has played everywhere. She is an amazing athlete.”
Even with the success on the field, it’s who Hartley is off the field that makes her a leader.
“We talk about winners a lot, and she is just a winner,” Mullins said. “She is a great person and she is a great teammate. It’s not about her. She is out there because she wants the team to be successful.”
The highlight of Hartley’s career has been the two homeruns against Florida State, including the game-winner in extra innings.
“That was an awesome experience,” Hartley said. “It really was a team win we had awesome pitching and had great defense which allowed us to get in extra innings.”
The Trojans finished with 32 wins, and Hartley believes the off-season preparation will lead to more success in the upcoming season.
“We had a really good off season, and we got a lot better,” Hartley said. “We have had a really good first week of practice, and we are really excited to get going.”
Mullins said the excitement is tangible.
“There is a lot of excitement,” Mullins said. “I think our girls know that they are very talented. I think it took until half way through the year for us to figure it out last year, and I think we are ahead of the ball this year.”
She believes the mix of veteran leadership and youthful excitement will be the right recipe for success in 2016.
“Having seven seniors is a big deal this year,” Mullins said. “I think it brings a lot of experience. They all have had so much experience under this coaching staff and I think they have done a good job at teaching the freshman how we do things here.”