Baseball, softball kick off pre-season with ‘Meet The Leopards’

+The+baseball+and+softball+teams+are+kicking+off+their+seasons+with+Meet+The+Leopards.+The+event+will+take+place+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+5%2C+5-9+p.m.

Ryann Daugherty

The baseball and softball teams are kicking off their seasons with Meet The Leopards. The event will take place on Friday, Feb. 5, 5-9 p.m.

Baseball and softball’s annual Meet The Leopards event will take place Friday Feb. 5 from 5-9 p.m. “Meet The Leopards” is designed to introduce the 2021 baseball and softball teams as well as to kick off the season. 

“Meet The Leopards is an event where baseball and softball create a community while also showing the community who we are as individuals and as a team,” junior softball player Emma Bittlestone said. “It allows people from all of Lovejoy to come and have fun and show their talents and personalities.” 

The event will consist of middle school scrimmages, a JV baseball scrimmage, whiffle ball, a home run derby for varsity baseball, and hitting practice for softball. 

“I think it’s a good opportunity for underclassmen to get into the program,” sophomore baseball player William Brown said. “It gives them a chance to show off their skills. Last year, shagging balls in the outfield during the home run derby [was my favorite part].”

 According to Bittlestone, the event also does a good job at setting up good team chemistry for the future of the program. 

“Last year, someone in eighth grade was really nervous because she hadn’t played in a while, but she still wanted to come,” Bittlestone said. “I think seeing her, in the couple of hours we were there, get so much more confident and be able to hit a good ball was so telling about how, as a program, we always want to improve and that even someone who hadn’t played in a while can improve with us.” 

 Brown and Bittlestone expect the varsity softball and baseball teams to be strong this year. 

“I’m looking forward to going deep in the playoffs,” Brown said. “We have a good team and have the opportunity to make it to state this year.”

The softball team has a team slogan this year “223.” 223 is the number of miles to Austin, Texas where the state tournament will be held. But Meet The Leopards is the beginning of the season, designed to form a bond between the teams and the community. 

“We want to make sure that we’re able to bring the community in, and not just unite with the community but allow our girls to understand how important it is to connect with the community,” head softball coach DJ Lopez said. “[It is a good kickoff to the season because we are] able to bring all the community, the softball community and baseball community together, and show off what we have going on here at Lovejoy. [I’m looking forward to] working with these great girls.”