Tim Walton, the head coach of the Florida Gators softball team, is entering his 18th year running the program. Wednesday, he joined Sports Scene to discuss this year’s team and the world of softball.
New Year, Same Goal
While the regular season doesn’t begin until February, the Gators began fall competition Saturday. The team opened up their first exhibition game with a blow out, making quick work of the Jacksonville Dolphins 11-1. Florida kept the good times rolling with its second exhibition of the fall Tuesday evening, outscoring USF 11-2. The team will back in action against St. Leo Thursday at 6 p.m.
Walton said he exhibition games are useful with a young team.
Reaching New Heights
Outside of the Gators, Walton continues to add to an already impressive resume, signing on as an assistant coach for Team USA in the Pan American Games. Walton previously helped lead the Women’s National Team to a victorious finish at the World Baseball Softball Confederation World Cup Group A event. Walton looks to join forces once more with head coach Heather Tarr (Washington head coach), and assistant coaches Tony Baldwin (Georgia head coach) and Cindy Ball-Malone (UCF head coach) to bring home the gold.
Go For Gold
The International Olympic Committee announced Monday six sports will be added to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and softball is one of the six sports being added. Softball is enjoying global growth, and the United States earned the silver medal in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. President of WBSC Riccardo Fraccari embraced the news of softball joining the Olympic fold.
“Given our sports’ rich tradition, universality, global appeal and huge popularity also in the US, I know that they will be a massive hit in LA, across the country and with the millions of Olympic fans worldwide,” he said.
“I’m delighted and proud that baseball and softball have been confirmed as part of the sports programme at the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 by the IOC Session.
“Given our sports’ rich tradition, universality, global appeal and huge popularity also in the US, I know that they… pic.twitter.com/a6oywzPKvz
— Riccardo Fraccari (@WBSCPresident) October 16, 2023
Walton said the WBSC wanted to merge baseball and softball into the same facility, and now they are both Olympic sports in 2028.
First pitch for the Gators matchup with Saint Leo is at 6 p.m. Thursday. Florida will open its season against Oregon State on Feb. 9.