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The Diary Of A College Softball Player - Pivotal ACC Series

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(Photo by Duke Athletics)

Let's start off on a high note—we took it to Carolina the weekend of March 17–19. We took the series with a nice hefty broom! This was my first time as a Blue Devil being in the midst of a rivalry series. Hats off to UNC for their fight. It was a tough series.

In the Duke community, Blue Devils of the past, present and future are always rooting for the demise of the Tar Heels. As a fan, the energy consumes you since your only mission is to push positive energy toward whoever is out there competing against the Tar Heels. From a player's perspective, however, you feel a mixture of emotions. I now understand what makes a rival game a true rivalry.

Now, on a low note, school is back in session. I already have assignments to turn in, papers to write and tests to prepare for. But, as people around the world know, a Duke degree grants you access to the best opportunities out there. Come next spring, I am sure I will already have a job offer or job secured upon graduation. I am speaking it into existence! All my stress will be worthwhile.

Back to softball. On Tuesday, March 22, we faced the Liberty Flames. The Flames and Blue Devils do have some tension between them. I wouldn't say it's a rivalry, but we have played each other enough to know it's always going to be a battle. The Flames are a great team, as they have versatile pitching and scrappy hitters. Fortunately, we are like boxers. We continuously throw punches left and right, while taking punches when needed, but as soon as we see a weak spot, we attack and go for the knockout. We prevailed Tuesday evening with a 7-2 win.

This was the momentum we needed going into our next ACC series against Florida State. The tickets were sold out, the field was prepped and we were ready to make our mark.

March 24 commenced the Florida State series. The first inning was clean with both sides not scoring. Unfortunately, the Seminoles went up 2-0 in the second inning off a home run. As the game continued, it was evident the Seminoles had the momentum on their side. There were times we tried to get things going, but the cards did not fall in our favor. It was a tough day for the Blue Devils, as we fell 4-1. We left feeling like we beat ourselves and eager for the next game.

Game two followed suit, and each inning was a dog fight. In the bottom of the fourth, we got a runner on. Then, freshman Aminah Vega came up clutch with a two-run, opposite-field bomb that allowed us to take the lead. The sold-out crowd went crazy. We saw the win in reach! Our pitching held it down, and we were on cloud nine knowing we took the game from the Seminoles.

On the final day of the series, we knew it would be a tough rubber match. What we did not know was that we would be in multiple rain delays and not end a 12 p.m. game until 6:30 p.m. It was awful sitting around not knowing if and when we would resume play. The team and I made the delays fun by having a karaoke jam session in our team locker room. Finally, around 3:45 p.m., we resumed play in the top of the second inning. Unfortunately, our pitching was not the best and our bats came alive too late, causing us to fall short, 7-3.

Now, we go back to the drawing board to take on Virginia Tech in our next ACC series. We are coming for those Hokies!

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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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