By Taylor Lupetti:
The San Jose State will get its first action on a dirt field since the final game last season this weekend as the 2017 campaign begins.
The Spartans will begin their season against the Creighton University Blue Jays beginning on Thursday in Tempe, AZ, playing a six-game tournament over a course of three days.
Heading into his tenth season as SJSU’s head coach, Pete Turner is considered the “winningest” coach in SJSU history. Thus far, he has a 258-248 record through his first nine seasons.
New to the assistant coaches this season is Letty Olivarez who is joining the Spartans from her co-head coach position at Arizona State. In the 2016 season, the Spartans finished with a record of 28-24; broken down to 9-3 at home, 10-4 away and 9-15 at neutral sites.
Unfortunately, the Spartans have had a rough start in their off-season due to a lack of a practice facility.
While funding came through for the San Jose State golf team and its new practice facility, the softball team got the short end of the stick. They are currently practicing at the CEFCU Stadium. While no practice facility is seen in the near future for the team, there are new batting cages currently under way.
The loss of a practice facility has greatly affected the team.
“Not having a practice facility of our own has hamstrung us somewhat but we’ve done a lot of work arounds between practicing on the football field and also at San Jose City College” said Turner.
With no place to practice and also the loss of several of their best players, Hufstetler, Martinez, Madrid and Purdy (to name a few) it is going to be a challenge for the Spartans to rise above their second place spot in the Mountain West.
With the addition of 11 freshmen to the roster this season, the Spartans are hopeful that these players will be just what the team has been needing.
“It has definitely been an adjustment, we lost a lot of girls last year, they were very strong offensively but I think that we also gained a lot of strong defensive players.” said junior infielder Emma Entzminger. “Our infield looks really good and that’s where our holes were.”
According to Coach Turner, the biggest increase of abilities and confidence for the players comes from freshman and sophomore year. We’ll have to see if the eleven newcomers will prove Turner’s theory.
Heading into the 2017 season, the Spartans have been predicted to come in third overall in the Mountain West Conference, just behind San Diego State and last year’s champion Fresno State.