Softball Blog #1: Katy LaCivita

Katy LaCivita and the Ramblers open the 2013 season at the Kickin' Chicken Classic on Feb. 22

Katy LaCivita and the Ramblers open the 2013 season at the Kickin' Chicken Classic on Feb. 22

Jan. 27, 2013

Only three and a half weeks remain until we touch down in beautiful Myrtle Beach, S.C., where we will begin the 2013 season. Each and every player and coach has been waiting for this day since the loss to Valpo in the 2012 Horizon League Championship. We've all been working our tails off and we're so excited to finally set foot on some dirt and fresh grass. Even though we lost three seniors from last season, we've got six new freshmen as well as the rest of the 2012 Ramblers, and this time, we're stronger, faster, better, and more focused and determined than ever. We're putting our hearts and souls into this season.

First, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Katy LaCivita, but all of my teammates call my Caddy. If you've seen Mean Girls, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't, go rent it right after reading this. Anyways, I'm a freshman from Downers Grove, Ill., and I'm a catcher. There is absolutely nothing easy about being a freshman. Coming to college is a big adjustment. Coming to college and playing a sport - A HUGE ADJUSTMENT! I have never worked so hard in my life at school or at softball, but I would not trade this for the world. I have the best teammates who are the hardest workers out there and if that doesn't get me excited to play, I don't know what will.

The 2012 Horizon League championship left a bitter taste in everyone's mouths. Losing in the championship to Valpo and watching them hold up that Horizon League trophy was devastating for the girls and coaches. Being a freshman, I obviously wasn't on the team at the time, but I have lost big games like that and let me tell you, the only thing you feel is hurt. Losing hurts. But you need to turn that hurt into mental and physical drive to never feel that way again. You need to turn that hurt into the need to win. This year, we're hungry for it. This year, winning is our only option. The countless hours in the weight room, the thousands of swings we've taken, the millions of pitches that have been thrown are the reasons we proudly wear that Rambler jersey. The work we have put in will be worth it in the end.

There is something awesome about this team in the way that we all push each other to become better players. During practice and in the weight room we encourage each other and push each other to do more than we think possible. We are each other's cheerleaders. When we run sprints at the end of practice, no matter how bad it hurts, we push each other to finish and pick each other up when we think we don't have anything left. Today Coach B told us that she loves watching us run our sprints because she gets to see us really come together as teammates and carry each other till the end. That is what it is going to take to win a conference championship - teammates who truly want the best for one another and help each other when things get tough. If it starts looking sloppy in the infield during practice, we call a timeout, gather on the mound, and collect ourselves. Lauren "Mo" Moore is usually pretty good for some comic relief in those situations. Then we get back to doing our thing. It is things like that that will make a winning team.

Since we live in the lovely city of Chicago, where the high for last week was 7 degrees, we have not had the chance to play on anything but gym floors all winter. We get most of our work done in Halas Center or Gentile Arena, but once or twice a week we get to go out to the Chicago Bandits' indoor practice facility. Inside there are two full-sized turf fields as well as batting cages and it's cool that we get to utilize a place like this because it's big enough to scrimmage. Getting to hit live and go through real game situations is the best thing to get us ready for the season. It's great to see how much of an improvement we've had from this fall. As a whole we look stronger and are meshing well together on and off the field. I feel so blessed to be a part of this team and I can't wait for my first college season to start. We've got some high goals that we are on the hunt to achieve and we don't plan on letting anything get in our way of reaching them. There's a lot of unfinished business to attend to. It's grind time!