After losing five of their past six games, the Auburn softball team is looking to get things back on track in time for postseason play. Still, the Tigers are sitting at 35-15 overall, good enough to be ranked No. 19 in the nation as of Monday.
With a three-game series against Arkansas in Fayetteville the only thing standing between the Tigers and the SEC Tournament, head coach Mickey Dean will look to lean on his senior leadership as the team prepares to refocus its efforts.
“The teams that finish out and play strong at the end, they’ve all been through adversity. So really, what it comes down to is how do you handle adversity? Do you let it overtake you or do you stick with what you do? The first thing you want to do when you have a little bit of adversity is we want to change this, we want to change that. You can’t do that. You have to stick with the process, you have to stick with what you do best,” Dean said.
Among those seniors is catcher Kendall Veach. Veach has stepped up tremendously for the Tigers in 2019. The Selma native currently has career highs in batting average (.311), home runs (19) and RBIs (46).
“Knowing it’s my last season I’ve kind of just been like, ‘You know what? Instead of pressing so hard on myself, let me just go out there and have fun.’ Just trust in my abilities and just try not to control every single thing and just control what I can control. I think that’s been the biggest difference,” she said.
Veach is confident that the Tigers can turn things around in time for the postseason and play up to the ability they know they’re capable of.
“We talked as a team and it’s just, we never lose; we either win or we learn. So, I think taking that perspective has really helped us. We can always learn from what we did wrong and what we did right. And coming into this weekend, it’s just all about focusing on the little things and doing what we set out to do each game,” Veach said last week.
Along with Veach, fellow senior outfielder Bree Fornis recognizes the potential that the Tigers can play up to. Fornis’ role on the team has increased significantly from 2018 to 2019, starting 38 of 47 games this year compared to just one start in 38 games the season prior.
“This team, I’ve seen what we can do, specifically in practice and our better games and I know that we haven’t played our best softball yet. So I’m excited to hopefully put everything together,” Fornis said.
Dean echoed the sentiment of his seniors, stating that despite the team’s recent struggles, Auburn is more than capable of bouncing back and playing like one of the best teams in the country.
“We’ve put together a strings of some really good wins, we’ve put together some strings of some really bad losses and now we get an opportunity to bounce back again. That’s what this is all about,” he said.
Auburn’s final series of the regular season kicks off Friday at 6 p.m. on the road against Arkansas.