Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Sunday, April 21, 2024

Mid-week doubleheader should bring many firsts

UF will log its first home games of the season on Wednesday when the Gators face the Mercer Bears in a doubleheader.

It will be the first-ever meeting between the teams, and with nine freshmen on UF's roster, expect to see a lot of individual firsts as well.

Coach Tim Walton has already plugged second baseman Aja Paculba, shortstop Megan Bush and third baseman Shaunice Harris into the starting lineup.

Tiffany DeFelice has impressed the coaching staff as well and will likely split time at designated hitter and catcher in order to get her big bat into the lineup.

Rounding out the list of first-year players who have already made an impact is number-two starting pitcher Stephanie Brombacher.

Brombacher, like many of her other freshman teammates, won two state championships in high school, and Walton points to that winning background when speaking of his impressive 2008 class.

"You have to understand that our entire freshman class has won a championship, so they come in there with that experience and level of athleticism really ready to compete," he said in a press conference Monday.

At the beginning of the season, Walton said chemistry would be something the team would have to work on because of all the new additions to the roster.

Look no further than up the middle of the diamond for a perfect example on how the Gators are doing their best to build a special kind of team chemistry.

All-American Kim Waleszonia moved to center field at the beginning of the season, and Walton plugged Paculba into the vacancy.

Now UF's young double-play combination has been able to form a bond both on and off the field.

"We live in the same dorm," Bush said before being interrupted by Paculba.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

"We share a bathroom."

The two used the same bat in batting practice on Tuesday, and after being interviewed together, it was clear the two share thoughts and sentences also.

"We go everywhere together," Bush continued. "We share a scooter most of the time, and we got to be really close friends. Closer than I would have expected, and it really helps out on the softball field too."

As if there weren't enough commonalities between the two middle infielders, they both logged their first homeruns in their very first college game.

Oh, and the two both chose to leave their home state of California to come play softball for UF - Bush is from Anaheim, and Paculba is from Wildomar.

In addition to Bush and Paculba, the Gators welcomed three other Californians to Gainesville this season.

Harris, first baseman Kristine Priebe and utitlity player Kelsey Bruder all call the state home, bringing the number of Californians on UF's roster to eight - pitcher Stacey Nelson, catcher Francesca Enea and Waleszonia are also from the Golden State.

"Being however many of us from California, we stay together all the time," Paculba said.

The freshmen are going to have to learn to play together as well, but they don't seem too concerned about developing the skills and mindset it takes to compete at a high level.

"I'm sure almost all the freshmen have been in big situations," Bush said. "We know how to play the game, and we just do what we do best."

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.