As its season came to an end with a 6-1 NCAA regional final loss to eventual national champion Arizona State, the San Diego State softball team was obviously disappointed.
But those who are returning to the team next year couldn’t be more motivated, after going toe-to-toe with the country’s No.1 team.
The NCAA tournament appearance gave those who are coming back a valuable learning lesson.
“It’s huge (for the younger players),” head coach Kathy Van Wyk said. “They learned that you’re never out of it until the last pitch. We always fought back and played with such emotion. It was a good experience for the freshmen.”
One of the younger players whose performance blossomed during the NCAA regional run was freshman outfielder Hayley Miles.
The freshman hit two home runs, including a walk-off shot against Long Beach State to keep the Aztecs alive in the tournament.
Miles admitted that her postseason play is going to help her in the long run.
“Being successful during the regionals gives me a lot of confidence,” Miles said.
Miles believes the goals of the team will be different in the future.
“Our goal will be to make it to super regionals next year,” Miles said. “We’ll also work a lot harder this summer because we know we can be successful.”
Junior pitcher Bailey Micetich, who was named to the Easton All-American Third-Team, thinks the team gained a lot of belief for next year thanks to the team’s postseason trip.
“It gave our underclassmen and everyone else a lot of confidence,” Micetich said. “We know we can play with the best, it’s a huge confidence boost. It also set a standard for our incoming freshmen.”
Micetich pitched her way to a 20-12 record this past season with a 1.85 ERA.
The great season isn’t stopping her from working harder in order to make next season an even better one for the team.
She, like her teammate Miles, is motivated to improve.
“I’m going to build off last season,” Micetich said. “Perfect my pitches, work out hard so I can come back even stronger and hopefully what I’m doing will propel the team to do the same so can start the fall off with a bang and come into the 2012 season as a threat to everyone we play.”