April 23, 2012

By: Sports Marketing Academy Intern, Kirsten Graffeo

It’s easy to overlook the small softball field tucked into the hillside between Millett and Yager. But on game day, this place is impossible to ignore.

Miami’s softball field may not be quite as large as Hayden Park, but it is by no means less exciting. The intimate seating offers an up close and personal view of the infield and all the hype and the (occasional) drama that happens in the dugouts.

One of the best features of the softball field? Dogs. All leashed animals are welcome at the softball field and almost every game is guaranteed to have several adorably furry friends in attendance with owners who are happy to let you play with them.

But the setting is only half the fun. The action on the field is nonstop as soon as the girls hit the field for warm ups. Most of the girls do normal warm up exercises, but it’s also a time for them to goof off and blow off some steam before the game begins. Be sure to look out for some of the players’ pre-game rituals like sophomore Kristy Arbour (#10) jumping into teammate Kayla Ledbetter’s (#11) arms or freshman Remy Edwards (#18) putting “Jerry” the team gnome into the ground to help them hit, and of course don’t forget to check out the hair ribbons.

Once the game gets started, both the RedHawks and the opposing teams go all-out in cheering on their teammates at bat and on the field. Some players have their own personalized cheers (one OU player several weeks ago had her team singing “Teach Me How to Ernie”) and some just involve a lot of stomping in the dugout. Perhaps the most entertaining cheer is when the 20+ RedHawks get together in the dugout and perform their own rendition of AC/DC’s “Thunder.”

You can always tell who’s up to bat for the RedHawks by their chosen walk out song. It’s a great chance to get a glimpse of each player’s personality from her song choice like first baseman Allie Larrabee’s “Skipping Up to Boston” by The Dropkick Murphys or Remy Edwards’s “Circle of Life” from The Lion King. But the best walk out song has got to be that of sophomore Kirstie Fehrenbach: “The Imperial March” a.k.a. Darth Vader’s theme music. This comes from the fact that Fehrenbach’s nickname is “Vader” from the black faceguard on her batting helmet.

This is just a taste of all the fun and excitement that happens on a regular basis at Miami Softball games. So come out and join the action and cheer on the RedHawks at Miami’s softball field before the end of the season! Their next home game is this Friday , May 4 at 1 and 3 pm in a double header against Bowling Green.