Junior Amber Freeman had quite the year in 2013. She was named a first team All-American, Pac-12 Player of the Year, and participated on the USA Softball National Team. So how does the Sun Devil star look to improve her game heading into the 2014 season?
“My mental game. I’m 20 years old and this is the best I am going to get as a softball player,” Freeman said at ASU Softball media on Saturday. “I had some rough patches last year where I got down mentally and over the summer I worked on strengthening my mind.”
The power-hitting catcher from Southern California is just one of many players that return from last year’s Sun Devil team that made it to Oklahoma City before being eliminated at the Women’s College World Series. Freeman says that although there are a lot of players on this year’s team that played on last year’s squad, this group feels tighter.
“The team chemistry is a lot better and we feel a lot closer as a team,” Freeman said. “Our senior leadership is awesome.”
One person who is new to the Arizona State softball team this year is head coach Craig Nicholson. Nicholson is taking over for Clint Myers who took the same position at Auburn. He previously coached at Ball State for five years and was named the 2013 MAC Coach of the Year. With a new coach, there are obviously different coaching styles but Freeman said there aren’t a lot of changes.
“Nicholson is very similar to Myers,” Freeman said. “The biggest difference is that he brings lots of energy and up-tempo which I love because it helps me to play better.”
Freeman also opened up one a few other topics at media day. The junior spent her summer, “playing the game she loves” for her country as she was one of 18 players selected to play for Team USA. “ It was a lot of fun and I got to play with the best of the best,” Freeman said.
When asked who the funniest player on the team was, Freeman smiled and jokingly said, “I think I am funny,” but then went on to say center fielder Alix Johnson.
“She says whatever she wants and does the weirdest things,” Freeman said. “I will look out and see her dancing during games.”
Freeman and the Sun Devils open the season on Thursday when they host Creighton at 5 p.m. as part of the Kajikawa Classic at Farrington Stadium.
You can reach Julian Lopez on Twitter @juliansdayoff22 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org