Firecrackers Rico Alumni 2022 Season Update - Volume Two
With February behind us and conference play beginning this month it is now time to take a closer look at our Firecrackers Rico Alumni on a weekly basis. Let’s take a trip around the country and peek in on some of our athletes, list their accomplishments and ask them some questions.
Lou Allen - Liberty
Back in Lynchburg, Virginia senior first baseman Lou Allen (2017) was on fire in front of the home fans for Liberty University. Allen went 6 for 12 (.500) with 2 homeruns, 6 RBI, 7 base-on-balls and 4 runs scored in helping lead the Flames to a perfect 6-0 record at the Liberty Softball Invitational. The highlight of the week for Allen was a 3 for 3 performance with two dingers and four runs driven in during a 12-0 victory over Rutgers.
Firecrackers Softball: Congratulations on a great week. You had a perfect game at the plate vs. Rutgers. Can you describe the feeling and what it does for your confidence when you have a performance like that?
Lou Allen: Thank you! It was a fun weekend of softball for sure. Having a perfect game at the plate is something every hitter strives for and your confidence increases because of it. My goal every time up to bat is to hit the ball hard because that’s all I can control. But having a game like that and going 3 for 3 is 100% a bonus.
Firecrackers Softball: The team went 6-0 over the weekend. How big of a boost is this success for the team heading into conference play next weekend?
Lou Allen: We are a young team this year with only three seniors but we are starting to mesh well. This group of women are some of the most determined people I have ever met. When we changed our focus as a team to hitting the ball hard, rather than worrying about the outcome, it changed the way we played. Going 6-0 is a huge confidence booster and beating a ranked Notre Dame team helped us really believe in ourselves. We are still learning as a team but we are getting better every day. Conference play is very important, and we are excited to see how well we do in the ASUN. We have created a no mercy mentality and our goal every game is to run rule the opponent. Our lineup has so much depth and I believe anyone can get the job done for us.
Julia Jimenez - Utah
University of Utah junior Julia Jimenez (2018) is seriously getting it done this spring for the Utes in Salt Lake City. The heavy hitting third baseman from Fontana went 7 for 15 (.466) with 2 home runs, 7 RBI, and 5 walks while scoring 5 runs last week for Utah. Jimenez is hitting .344 overall with 3 home runs and 21 RBI as the Utes have jumped out to 15-6 record to begin the season.
Firecrackers Softball: You had a terrific weekend at Cal State Fullerton and the Judi Garman Classic this past weekend. Did it give you extra motivation playing so close to home?
Julia Jimenez: Playing close to home is just something fun. I wouldn’t say it gives me more motivation, but it definitely makes me super happy that my family gets to come to my games. I am self-motivated every game so having my family there was just comforting. My family came out to every single game of mine and I had some of my best friends come watch me as well.
Firecrackers softball: Utah lost a close 2-1 game to the defending National Champion Oklahoma Sooners at Mary Nutter in Palm Springs, proving this team will compete in the always tough Pac-12 Conference. How has the tough schedule prepared you mentally for the gauntlet of conference play?
Julia Jimenez: I am so excited to see how good our team is going to be this year and how we have proven to ourselves that we have the grit and chemistry to succeed. I believe anyone can win games, ranked or not, it just depends on which team comes to the field ready to compete. We are prepared well for Pac-12 Conference play to start and we have worked very hard in the fall to get to where we are (15-6). Now it’s time to show the people who Utah is because we are considered the underdogs going into this.
Britton Rogers - Georgia
Deep down south in the heart of the South Eastern Conference in Athens, Georgia sophomore Britton Rogers (2020) is unbeaten in the circle for the (19-2) Georgia Bulldogs. The hard throwing right-handed pitcher from Cypress, Texas is 6-0 with a sub three era at 2.86 with 42 strike outs in 41.2 innings pitched. Last week Britton went 5.2 innings, earning the win over Ohio University, 6-2. Rogers struck out 5 Bobcats keeping her on pace with at least one strikeout per inning in 2022.
Firecrackers Softball: You are averaging one strikeout per inning this season. What has been your go to pitch?
Britton Rogers: My go to pitch this year has been my screwball. I have been more successful with the screwball because of all the work I have put in with our pitching coach, Chelsea Wilkinson. Together we have found a way to get my ball to break across the plate and land as a strike instead of starting on the corner and staying out of the zone for a ball. I am doing everything I can to challenge the hitters early in the count.
Firecrackers Softball: You look extremely calm in the circle and very confident. Did playing high level travel ball for so many years help you prepare for college?
Britton Rogers: Having a good rhythm on the mound is one of my main priorities when I take the field. This calms me down and allows me to feel good out there. Playing at a high level growing up has definitely prepared me for the type of competition I see now. I have had many top-level coaches along the way and I learned so much as a player about how to handle tough opponents and situations. It 100% prepared me to compete as a Georgia Bulldog.
Other Notable Performances
Over in Westwood at UCLA junior Anna Vines (2018) had a productive week at second base for the Bruins (17-3). Vines went 5 for 14 (.357) at the dish with 3 walks, 1 RBI and 6 runs scores as UCLA went 5-0 at the Judi Garman Classic at Cal-State Fullerton. The Vista Murrieta (Temecula) graduate has posted a .933 fielding % while playing a nearly flawless second base this spring for the highly rated Bruins.
Super-senior Mary Iakopo is having another solid season in Austin, Texas for the Longhorns. Last week the University of Texas catcher went 5 for 15 (.333) with 1 home run with 3 RBI, 2 walks and 3 runs scored. So far for the season the Longhorns backstop is hitting .310 with 3 homeruns and 12 RBI’s