Boise State’s softball team is starting the season with a clean slate. There is a whole new reset in terms of coaching staff and mentality for players.
Head Coach Justin Shults, spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Oregon University but was hired as the Broncos head coach on June 16, 2021.
Shults became the fourth head coach in the program’s history and is hoping to turn the team around after a 20-25 overall record and an 11-13 record in conference play last year.
“I just want to maximize our athlete’s potential, I think that’s the biggest thing as a team,” Shults said. “If we can maximize their potential, I think we’re going to be putting ourselves in the right conversations of being a Mountain West championship team and getting to the postseason.”
Shults has started off on the right foot with a 13-2 record, beating the University of California, Riverside in their season opener. The team then went on to win four straight games in the San Diego State University (SDSU) Season Kickoff Tournament, beating California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), Middle Tennessee State University and Stanford University.
Their first loss, however, would come Feb.18 against the University of Nebraska Omaha at the Cardinal Invitational.
Shults has commended the player’s resilience in the games thus far and how players have been “awesome” in adapting to his coaching style.
“I think that’s why you see in some of the games that are close early on, we don’t freak out. We just keep playing softball and can move forward,” Shults said.
The players had to keep an open mind with the arrival of a new coach, but the buy-in among players seems to be seamless.
With her second season underway, sophomore pitcher Taylor Caudill spoke of her high expectations for this team, even with a new coaching staff.
“I have very high expectations for this team,” Caudill said. “We’re very talented; we have a lot of raw talent on this team. We need to work to fine tune areas on our defense and offense. I expect us to go far. I expect us to develop every day.”
Caudill also mentioned how hard the team worked in preparation for the season.
“Coming into this year, we’ve been working really hard this fall,” Caudill said. “I knew that, especially from the coaching staff, that we were going to be pushed to our fullest extent.”
Senior pitcher Sara Johnson believes that this team has the talent to do something special, but it all comes down to the players to achieve it.
“We [have] proved that we’re dangerous,” Johnson said. “So I think we can do whatever it is that we want to do. We just got to go out and do it.”
Johnson has been trying to find her “footing” playing for Boise State since transferring from Towson University her junior year. She believes building confidence from their early wins will be important.
“I think for us developing that confidence and how we can win by hitting base to base is pretty awesome,” Johnson said. “It’s pretty awesome as the pitcher having the confidence that we can give up a run, and the game is not over.”
Despite a whole new coaching staff coming in for the 2022 softball season, all signs for the team seem to be pointing in the right direction.
The coaches and players are on the same page and hope to do something special this season.
The Broncos will begin conference play on March 18 against California State University (Fresno State), which is a home game for Boise State.