This past summer, collegiate softball players from all across the country had the opportunity to compete in the Florida Gulf Coast League.  Five Hatters competed in the FGCL, which ran from mid-June through late July with games played at Palma Sola Park and Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, Fla.

Throughout the week, each of the five Hatters that participated in the league will share their thoughts on their experience.  Today we feature rising senior Jaime Tino of Royal Palm Beach, Fla.  Tino played for FastpitchU.

What prompted you to join a team and play in the FGCL this summer?

I decided to join FGCL this summer because I wanted to get more reps in post-surgery and get back into my groove. FGCL was the perfect summer opportunity to get better. Plus, I knew it would be a great experience getting to meet players and coaches from all different universities.

What expectations did you have going in?

I had the expectation that I would be able to better my pitching and get in better shape before returning to Stetson in the fall. I was very excited to play with my teammates and get to see how their team culture was compared to ours.

What was it like getting to know new teammates?

It was an awesome experience getting to meet all my teammates! I would say our team was probably the closest. We were able to bond a lot better because we all lived in a team house while the other teams stayed in a hotel. I for sure made plenty of lifelong friends, and I hope we cross paths again during this spring season! We were able to bond quickly because we all realized season was only six weeks. We needed to trust each other in order to be successful in that short span of time. 

What can you say about your overall experience?  

I had a great experience in the summer league, and I plan to play again next summer. I got in so many reps and was able to really target and work on what I needed for our next spring season. This experience taught me how to truly “flush” things when mistakes were made. One hit or one play does not define a game. It is the next play that matters and how you reset yourself for that next pitch. 

What was the best part?  What memories do you think stand out the most?

The best part of playing this summer was bonding with my teammates and all the memories that we made. Our team was the underdog all season, and we had a rough start, but we were able to come together as a team and work together! A memory that stood out to me the most was getting to train and work with such a dedicated group of girls. Plus, we spent a lot of time on and off the field together. Also the coaching staff – Coach Melissa truly helped my mental game and confidence this summer.

What from the experience do you think you can bring back with you to Stetson this year?  

From working with FastpitchU, I can bring back more team comradery to Stetson. My team was able to work hard and battle in situations out of our comfort zones. One of our biggest team sayings was, “to become comfortable being uncomfortable.” Softball is a very unpredictable game and the best way to succeed is by being comfortable in every possible situation.  

It was a great time getting to play against other Hatters! Hope to see more next summer.