Kirby Smart makes elite time for Georgia softball team, Bulldogs headed to Florida State
ATHENS — The Georgia softball program will turn into the so-called “front porch” of the university this week when it plays Florida State on Thursday and Friday night on ESPN2 in NCAA tournament Super Regional play.
Bulldogs’ two-time championship football coach Kirby Smart has taken note, and on Wednesday he took time out to meet with the team before they travelled to Tallahassee.
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Smart’s influence has spread to other UGA coaches and student athletes — including softball — as they strive to become “elite.”
Second-year UGA coach Baldwin said he appreciated Smart’s gesture, and he knows his players did, too.
“I appreciate Coach Smart stopping by and offering words of encouragement to our team,” Baldwin said. “We have a lot of respect for him and what he has done for Georgia football and Georgia athletics
“When I heard Coach Smart went to speak with the softball team today, I was not shocked at all,” Brooks said. “As someone who played here, graduated from here and is now the head football coach, he has so much passion and energy for each of our 21 sports.
“Coach Smart loves this university, and that shines through when he shows up and supports our teams like he did this morning.”
Much like football, the state of Georgia features some of the top softball coaches and softball programs in the nation and develops a high volume of premier talent.
Fans who watch the 14th-seeded Bulldogs take on No. 3-seed Florida State at 7 p.m. on Thursday and 8 p.m. on Friday (TV: ESPN2) will see a program made up primarily of players developed in Georgia’s noted travel ball ranks.
Baldwin, noted as one of the top hitting coaches in the nation, has followed Smart’s lead and done some national recruiting, too.
Here’s a look at the Georgia batting order and primary starting pitchers, and their hometowns:
CF Dallis Goodnight, Dacula, Ga.
C Lyndi Rae Davis, Calhoun, Ga.
3B Sara Mosley, Ellijay, Ga.
RF Jayda Kearney, Columbus, N.J.
2B Sydney Kuma Fresno, Calif.
DH Sydney Chambley, Dallas, Ga.