After 11 years under the tenure of Hall of Fame softball coach Yvette Girouard, the Lady Tigers enter spring under the tutelage of first-year head coach Beth Torina.
Torina, twice named the Sun Belt Coach of the Year in her four years at the helm of Florida International in Miami, said she inherited a team with lofty goals for itself.
“We have 22 girls that will tell you they want to be in the College World Series, and they’re working every single day to be there,” Torina said. “People that haven’t necessarily made the name that they wanted to make for themselves, and they’re on a mission to get that done this year.”
The Lady Tigers fell short of their goal last season, falling in the NCAA Regional in College Station, Texas.
“It always leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when you don’t go as far as you wish you would have,” said senior outfielder Ashley Applegate. “It just gives us more motivation to work even harder than we did the year before.”
In addition to her head-coaching duties, Torina is also the Lady Tigers’ pitching coach, giving her a hands-on approach.
“She’s taught us a lot of new things, and we’re looking forward to putting it into game action,” said junior pitcher Rachele Fico.
Torina said the Lady Tigers feature a pitching staff that “has got to be one of the best staffs in the conference, if not the nation.”
Sophomore infielder Tammy Wray said with Torina’s coaching, this season’s team is fully capable of earning a trip to Oklahoma City, Okla., to play in the Women’s College World Series.
“[Torina] is very uplifting and that’s a great characteristic to have as a coach,” Wray said. “Coach Torina is very involved in practices. She’s right there with us guiding us every step of the way.”
Fico said Torina is tough and expects a lot from her team, but she is also lively at practice.
“We have a lot of fun with her,” Fico said. “She really knows when to lighten the mood and when to get serious, and that really helps our team a lot.”
Torina said she tries to keep practices upbeat and remind her players why they’re there.
“Softball is a game,” Torina said. “More than anything, I want them to enjoy every day that they’re out here.”
This story was from a Baton Rouge Newspaper, The Daily Reveille, written by Scott Branson
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