Valdosta, GA - Thomas Macera isn't one of those coaches who stands around and watches. He gets in his players faces and helps correct their mistakes. You can tell just by watching him, he's won a national championship before.
It was seven years ago when he coached at Lynn University. He knocked off the top team in the country at the time in the semifinals. Now, as the NCAA tournament approaches, he's coaching the team voted number one in Division-II.
If Macera leads Valdosta State to a national title this year, they would become the first team in Division-II to win as the top ranked team.
"I feel like it's not really a physical thing when people are going into it ranked number one," senior third baseman Samantha Posey said. "I think it's more of a mental thing because at this point you either have it or you don't."
The Lady Blazers have had it for the past three months. They're coming off their fourth straight conference title, set a record 36-game win streak in the Gulf South Conference and have won 48 games.
But when it comes to postseason softball, everything changes.
"I don't think that we can play down to other team's levels," junior outfielder Morgan Johnson said. "I think we need to play our level."
That's almost how they played last weekend in the conference tournament.
"They almost seemed too loose last weekend and I didn't say anything to them," Macera said. "I just let them be. They're relaxed and you're gonna play better that way."
"I think if we keep playing the way that we're playing, we can't be beat," Posey said. "I think the only people that can beat us is ourselves."
"We want to go in, do our best and finish out the season the way that coach has always told us to with winning the last game that we play," Johnson said.
So, the strategy for this year's tournament: listen to coach.
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