Thursday, March 28, 2013
Laura Trout admits she misses the rush of adrenaline and spike of emotion that accompanies the final countdown leading into a battle against another premier team in the country.
But she’s developing a new passion. The former Stratford and University of Georgia softball standout is now a volunteer assistant coach with the University of South Carolina softball team and eyeing a future outside the lines.
“The transition was pretty difficult at first,” said Trout, who excelled two years each at Spartanburg Methodist and Georgia after a stellar career on Crowfield Avenue. “I really missed playing. Now, it’s about helping to prepare to beat those teams. It’s good to still be in the SEC. You’re still competing against the best teams in the country.”
She concluded her career as a shortstop at Georgia in 2011 and stayed in Athens last spring to student coach for the Lady Bulldogs, helping with practice and scouting reports.
The opportunity at USC came open following last summer when she coached one of the country’s top travel softball teams, the Southern Force. In September, Trout was brought in by USC coach Beverly Smith to round out the Lady Gamecocks coaching staff.
She’s definitely learned to see the game from a different vantage point over the last couple of years. She provides assistance in all areas for the Gamecocks coaching staff.
“Preparing for games as a player, you get to be the one who is in there and you get to make the adjustments,” she said. “As a coach, you can just guide them. You can’t just go out there and do what needs to be done. If they don’t perform as expected you feel like you didn’t prepare them well enough. One of the best parts, though, is working with somebody over and over and week after week and then one game on a big stage they finally get it.”
The Lady Gamecocks are 18-11 this season and just recorded a special win at No. 12 LSU. The 4-1 victory was the first SEC win of the season and first on the road against a ranked team since they last beat LSU in Baton Rouge nearly six years ago.
“We’re making strides,” Trout said. “We’re definitely headed in the right direction.”
South Carolina will host Trout’s former team, the Lady Bulldogs, April 12-14 in Columbia.
In her two years as a player at Georgia, the Lady Bulldogs advanced to one College World Series and spent some time top the college softball team for nearly a month. Trout batted .253 as a junior and .348 during her senior season with 77 hits, 40 RBI and 60 runs scored.
She never lost to the Lady Gamecocks as a player or coach. Last spring, Georgia advanced to a Super Regional, also sweeping South Carolina along the way.
Needless to say, she’s looking forward to it.
“It will be interesting,” she said. “Anything I know I learned from those guys. They’re a young team too … We should have a chance but we can’t give them anything.”
“The difference in the kids I played with at Georgia is they’re used to winning,” she added. “They know what it feels like. Winning was something they were used to.”
South Carolina returns to SEC play on Friday at Missouri, with first pitch set for 8 p.m. SportSouth is slated to televise the first SEC meeting between the two schools.