Softball team embarks on Florida road trip

John Barry

Ten games in nine days seems like a brutal stretch for most sports teams, especially when they are all road games. 

But the ISU softball team (10-10) will travel to Florida on March 14, 2013, for a three-city trip that kicks off on March 15 in Clearwater, Fla., against host school South Florida and Liberty. South Florida is on an eight-game winning streak.

The Cyclones will finally get a break from playing top-ranked teams, having played five top-25 teams in the last eight games. However, the team knows that others will now be vying to knock them off. 

“Playing these teams, they’re going to have our number,” said sophomore infielder Lexi Slater. “We are going to be pumped up and have to attack the teams early to get the wins.”

During day two of the Clearwater tournament, Iowa State will play Rutgers and Valparaiso. The Cyclones have already beaten the Scarlet Knights earlier this season in San Antonio, with Tori Torrescano throwing a complete game win on Feb. 15.

“Having played them already once, we are familiar with what they’re going to throw,” Slater said. “It also helps because we know how they hit and where they hit.”

Some of the team members have never been to Florida and are looking forward to the trip. 

“I’m just really excited about it,” said coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler. “Right now, we are sitting at .500, and this is a great opportunity to get some wins under our belt before heading into conference play. We’re going to take advantage of it.”

Iowa State will also face Temple and Florida Gulf Coast.

The second half of the road trip is in Boca Raton, Fla., which will be hosted by Florida Atlantic. The team will play Dartmouth and Bethune-Cookman on March 22, and finish with Elon and host school FAU on March 23.

“We should feel good going into Spring Break and start to get on a roll,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing; you always want to play the nameless team and have the best performance you can have as a team. Rutgers is pitching well lately, and a lot of these teams have historically been pretty solid.”

Liberty, South Florida and Valparaiso each have midweek games before the start of the weekend tournament. South Florida is 13-5 at home this season.

Iowa State’s run at the tournament at Clearwater, Fla., gets started on March 15 with a 10:45 a.m. CST game against Liberty.