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The Diary Of A College Softball Player - ACC Play Begins

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(Photo by Duke Athletics)

It's been two weeks since my last diary entry, and there's so much to update you all on. Let's start with Duke Softball's first ACC series.

At Duke, we have a tradition before the start of ACC play called secret sisters. Everybody on the team randomly draws another teammate's name to buy them a sweet gift before the madness of ACC play starts. I had our home run beast Ana Gold. Ana loves makeup and energy drinks, so her gift was filled with items like that. I received a water bottle, a book and much needed earring backs. I can't tell you how many times I’ve lost earring backs during games, practices and while just sitting at home, but the gift came at the perfect time.

Our first ACC series was against Notre Dame. It’s always close between us and the Fighting Irish. In the first game, we fell short 5-4. I think it was one of the games we needed to reset and lock back into our goals. We didn't have consistent energy, focus or the ability to make quick adjustments. It definitely felt like a slap in the face, but we needed it in order to get better. The next two games of the series were different for us. You could see we had locked back in with the goal at hand. All our goals were checked off, thus allowing us to win the series with a 6-2 win and 4-3 win.

The week leading up to our Charlotte game and Louisville series was a whirlwind for me. It was the last week before spring break, so all my school work piled up. I had two papers to write, a take-home exam to complete and other busy-work assignments to do. It was a never-ending cycle of opening Google Docs and scanning my to-do calendar to see what I had left to complete. Within that mentally-exhausting week, I received the best news of being selected for a three-week immersive summer service experience in Costa Rica. I had to wait four long months to see if I had been selected for the trip. I am so thankful that the applications and multiple interviews I had to experience worked out in my favor. This will be my first experience traveling outside of the U.S. as well, so there's much to look forward to come the end of June. (Especially after we make it to the WCWS—wink, wink.)

On to the Charlotte game—I was very excited for this game. I am from Charlotte, so it was sweet to be back in my hometown for the evening. All my family was there, my old high school team and coaches came in support of me and even a few surprise visitors in the form of old friends came out. I had an extra chip on my shoulder going into the game knowing I was playing for my family and friends in the stands. We came out on top, proving to truly be the best team in North Carolina. It was a great team win, 5-4, over the Niners.

To wrap up the week, Louisville made an appearance in Durham to commence our second ACC series of the season. I got the ball in the first game, but didn’t perform my best. As always, though, my teammates had my back, getting the 9-6 win. The bats were on fire! We have a mini-tradition that when you hit a double, you “throw a grenade” into the dugout. I had never been on the lookout for so many grenades within one game!

In the second game, we secured the series victory. It felt like we were hitting our stride. Our bats were on fire, our defense was making ESPN-worthy plays and our pitching was holding it down. We were looking to bring out the brooms for game three. Unfortunately, we fell short and lost in game three. It was one of those games where we just knew we needed to be better. There is no reason to hang our heads, though, as we are proud to say we won our 12th ACC series in a row, and we're looking forward to keeping that train rolling next weekend.

It is now a new week and spring break is upon us. I am smiling from ear to ear knowing this week will involve no schoolwork. There have been a lot of ups and downs for me this season already, but I feel like this is the week I am truly going to get off the roller coaster. It's only up from here! Nothing will get in my way of controlling what I can control, dominating and just having fun on the field. As a whole, our team is looking forward to playing our best softball versus JMU, and then winning the series this weekend against one of our biggest rivals, UNC.

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The Diary Of A College Softball Player - Season Reflections

Duke junior pitcher Jala Wright reflects on the season that was and looks ahead to next year.

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