VALDOSTA, GA. (WTXL) — For Valdosta State head softball coach Thomas Macera, the gravity of the Lady Blazers fifth NCAA Division II Softball Championship appearance began to settle in as his team loaded up on the bus to the airport.
“Most kids are going home right now and these girls get to go on a plane and play for something they’ve dreamed about since they were kids," says Macera.
“We’re so excited. We’re playing for every single person out here right now, playing for every single person on that bus. Everyone that’s not here right now. It’s bigger than us right now so we’re super excited," adds Valdosta State redshirt senior catcher Lacey Crandall.
When the Lacy Blazers land in the Mile High City, the number one team in the nation Augustana will be waiting for them on the diamond come Thursday. But this team won’t be playing with an underdog mentality. They’ll be playing with a lot to prove.
“Everybody is making a big deal about us being eight and them being one and why are eight. Honestly I don’t care," Macera said. "You’ve to beat everybody anyway so why not start out with them.”
“We’ve been waiting to play Augustana all year, we’re so excited. We can’t wait to prove it," added Crandall.
While in transit to Denver you’ll find this team playing cards, board games, listening to music and enjoying time together as a team. Precious time that was stripped away a little more than a year ago by the pandemic. When VSU hits the field, Macera’s message will be simple. Just play like you know how to play.
“Just the same thing I told them on Saturday. The game is no bigger than the game. Don’t make that game any bigger than any other game. It’s still a softball game.”
Valdosta State's game against Augustana is set for Thursday at 1:00.