With 10 games in the books for the Lady Vols softball team, spirits are high as they head to their third tournament of the season with an unblemished record.
Tennessee has rolled through the competition at the Red Desert Classic and the USF 4 Team Tournament. They have run ruled four teams and notched five shutouts — two games were both a run rule and a shutout.
Freshman Rainey Gaffin was excited that they were able to win her first tournament as a Lady Vol.
"It was awesome," Gaffin said. "It was good to be out there on the field with everybody and get to be in the games, getting to see all the stuff we have been working on coming to play. The best part was seeing well we work together as a team."
Though the team has yet to face a real test, co-head coach Ralph Weekly is keeping his team in attack mode.
"Our biggest challenge is to stay on task and not get too enchanted with ourselves," Weekly said.
The closest a team has come to defeating Tennessee in the early stages of the season was Costal Carolina who tied the Lady Vols at 3-all in the top of the fourth. Tennessee then put five runs on the Chanticleers in the fifth.
"When you're in the games where it comes head-to-head you really see what your team is made of," Rainey said. "It was good to see we have that ability to push on when teams come back."
The first five hitters in the Lady Vols' lineup have been too much for opponents so far this season. In the championship game of the USF 4 Team Tournament, the group of ladies were a combined 12-19, six runs and six RBIs.
"Those first five hitters are pretty amazing," Ralph Weekly said.
The five — Raven Chavanne, Kat Dotson, Madison Shipman, Lauren Gibson and Cheyanne Tarango — are hardly comparable to anyone in the country.
"I don't think there is another lineup like it in the nation," Ralph Weekly said. "There might be one or two but I doubt it. When you consider that there are six players on this team on the USA National Team, that speaks for yourself."
Pitcher Ellen Renfroe enjoys going to the circle knowing that she has those five on her team at the plate and in the field.
"I never do want to give up a run and put the pressure on them, but knowing the lineup that we have behind you on defense and offense is a relief," Renfroe said. "I have to remind myself of that sometimes so I don't put too much pressure on myself."
This weekend the Lady Vols travel to California to play in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. All the teams, besides Tennessee, are from the Golden State.
In the field will be eight time national champion UCLA, who has hit over 20 home runs on the year.
"I went on UCLA's website today and saw they hit 20 home runs over the week and we hit just three," Ralph Weekly said. "That concerns me a little. They will be tough though. We have beaten them two of the last three times so they will be out for blood."