Delanie Gourley gives a young fan her autograph after an open scrimmage
It was a beautiful day Saturday afternoon at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium as the Florida Softball team hosted an open scrimmage for fans. After the game, fans were able to meet their favorite players and receive autographs.
For the close to 400 who attended the scrimmage, all of them got a good taste of what this team is all about. It was not a standard scrimmage where runs were counted with an inning limit.
Gator coach Tim Walton focused more on situational play, something that the players and fans seemed to really enjoy.
The scrimmage on Saturday and practices this upcoming week all lead up to the opening game of the season. The Gators will start their season in Tampa in the USF Classic, playing Hampton on February 6th.
After the scrimmage, ESPN 850 was able to catch up with junior outfielder Kirsti Merritt. Last year, Merritt was an integral part of the Gator’s national championship run. She sent Florida to the College World Series via a walk-off home run against Washington and hit a three-run home run in the championship-clinching game against Alabama.
Merritt is very pumped to get the season underway.
“I mean we are all really excited to finally to be able to play as one team. Like we just saw in this practice, we played against each other. And now coming up, we get to play as a team.”
When asked about last year’s success late in the season and how she is going to carry that over, Merritt says she will continue to work hard.
“I’m just going to keep doing the things that I do. Keep working hard in the batting cages, getting my extra reps in and going in on my own.”
Now that she is a junior, Merritt expressed how she needs to be a leader.
“As an upperclassman, I like to see myself as being a leader out there in the outfield or just a leader in general…trying to lead them and teach them how so they can teach the younger people how to work hard.”
For full audio of Kirsti Merritt, click below: