Clemson’s softball program has already experienced a lot of firsts in the last five days.
There was the first game, the first pitch, the first out, the first hit, the first run, the first home run, the first win and the list can go on and on. On Wednesday, the Tigers will experience a new first … their first home game.
“Definitely, now that all the firsts are gone, everybody is a little bit, not thinking selfishly, but more about the team,” Clemson utility player Marissa Guimbarda said. “I think now that all of that is gone, I think we will be more successful.”
The Clemson softball team is expected to play its inaugural home game Wednesday against Western Carolina at the Clemson Softball Stadium. The Tigers and Catamounts will play a doubleheader, weather pending, beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Clemson announced Tuesday night that both games are sold out, but Game 1 will be broadcast on the ACC Network.
“I’m just excited to experience it, walk out onto that field and see it all come to life,” Clemson first baseman MK Bonamy said. “Basically, we have had to use our imagination this whole time, while we are practicing, ‘Hey! We are not going to be able to hear each other while we are making plays. This whole stadium is going to be filled, so you got to figure it out. I think it is going to be cool to actually see it come to life.”
Until a week ago, Clemson head coach John Rittman was worried if everything was going to be done at the stadium by first pitch on Wednesday. As of Tuesday, there were still some facility workers putting the finishing touches on what needs to be done before the first game starts.
“There are lots of stories when you open up a new facility,” Rittman said. “Listen, this facility is awesome. It is fantastic, but like most facilities there are a few kinks that need to be worked out and I was really a part of a lot of those decisions and telling people what was wrong and what needed to be fixed until about a week ago, then I pulled myself aside and really concentrated on our team and getting our team ready to play.
“We have such an amazing support staff here, and certainly they are doing some last minute preps and there is some pressure they are feeling for tomorrow, but I think it is all going to go over well and, like I have said all along, this is a great venue for our fans to watch a softball game and I just hope Mother Nature works out and everybody can come out and enjoy two victories tomorrow.”
Wednesday will not be a complete first for the Tigers in the Clemson Softball Stadium. They have already held their first practice in their new digs and their first Fan Appreciation Day, which had a huge turnout. Now, less than 24 hours before their first game, they are imagining what it is all going to be like when they look up and see more than a thousand fans packed into the stadium.
“I was kind of playing in my head (at Fan Day) this is what my first at-bat is going to be like,” Bonamy said. “I just think that kind of probably helped me a little. This past weekend it was a good crowd, but I was also inside my head thinking, ‘This is probably only half the crowd we are going to have on Wednesday.’ I think I was kind of mentally preparing to get to that kind of mindset.”
–photo courtesy Clemson Athletic Communications
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