A sports psychologist advised the North Florida Ospreys softball players and coaches to worry about the things they can control and not be too bothered about the rest.
With the Ospreys in their first ever Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament that philosophy has served them well.
“All year we have made it a point not to talk about the outcomes,” Ospreys coach
Marcie Hickey said. “We talk about the process of what happens in the course of a game – what we do well and what we need to improve on.
“We have done a little bit of work with a sports psychologist this year. We can’t control whether or not we get a hit. You can control the pitch you hit. You can control your mechanics. We control what we can, try to focus on the little things and good things will happen.”
After posting an 18-6 regular season conference record the Ospreys entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed. Hickey was named A-Sun Coach of the Year.
As the No. 1 seed the Ospreys were awarded a first round bye. Things were looking good.
“This is something we had been striving for the past five years,” Hickey said. “To finally get here and be the No. 1 seed with a first round bye was huge."
“It has been our goal the whole away through. We have seen all of these teams before.
We have done a really good job of focusing on what is in front of us at the moment.”
But it was not to be an easy road. In a tournament filled with six talented teams the
Ospreys lost 3-1 on the second day to Lipscomb’s Lady Bisons at Draper Diamond on the Lipscomb campus.
“Obviously, we put ourselves in the loser’s bracket pretty quick,” Hickey said. “That wasn’t our plan to come in here to end up in this situation. It is a little bit longer but the process is still the same. You focus on one pitch at a time and one inning at a time.
“There is a lot of parity in this tournament. Everybody wants it. All of the games have been dogfights.”
The Ospreys stayed alive Friday afternoon in the double elimination tournament by beating Florida Gulf Coast 2-1 in the seventh inning.
“Our defense has been great and our pitching has been solid,” Hickey said. “We have to do better at the plate. We can’t get by scoring one run.”
Hickey stresses that the leadership on her team has been strong, especially Jackie Reese at catcher and outfielder Megan David.
“Jackie has been a great leader behind the plate,” Hickey said. “She calls her own game.
She keeps everybody fired up."
“Megan is another senior who has done a fantastic job. She is a great team player.”
A depth of leadership has been especially important as the Ospreys travel through the loser’s bracket.
“We actually have a lot more leadership across the board than we have had,” Hickey said. “If one person is not up, someone else steps up and picks them up. That is what it is all about for us.
“It is a long road in the loser’s bracket. Pitchers are tired. Hitters are tired. It is emotionally exhausting to lose a game like we did to Lipscomb. It takes a lot out of you. So it takes different people to step up at different times.”