Hofstra softball head coach Bill Edwards always places a major emphasis on defense during pre-season practices and that sharp focus on the fundamentals of fielding is paying off to near perfection.
According to the latest NCAA statistics, Hofstra (31-10) is tied with Texas for first in the nation with a .984 fielding percentage. For the season Hofstra has only made 19 errors. Last year Hofstra was also tops in the country for fielding percentage before making two errors in a season-ending NCAA Tournament extra-inning loss to Arizona.
Edwards attributes the Pride’s fielding success to a combination of hard work and having a “constant repetition of fundamentals.” In addition concentrating heavily to the physical aspect of fielding, Edwards also institutes a system that enables each player to constantly be prepared mentally during each at bat of how to position themselves for a variety of situations.
”We work real hard on our fundamentals,” said Edwards, who is just three wins a row from reaching 800 for his career.
Having a near perfect fielding percentage is also important for the mindset of Pride pitchers Olivia Galati and Erin Wade, who know a solid defense is behind them when the ball is put in play. “You can tell your pitcher don’t be afraid to pitch to contact because if you keep the ball in the park we’re going to make plays,” said Edwards. “It really does give them the confidence to not be afraid to pitch to contact.”
Hofstra will be looking for its 23rd win in its last 25 games tonight when the Pride host St. John’s in the first ever home night game in program history at 7 p.m.