Since transferring from Stanford, Carley Hoover has made a big impression in the circle for the LSU softball team.
Hoover finished the 2015 season with an 18-7 record and led the Tigers in ERA (1.78) and strikeouts (174). She pitched in every game of the Women’s College World Series. Hoover’s accomplishments saw her earn a place on the SEC All-Freshman team and first team All-SEC honors. She earned NFCA All-American status as a third team selection.
DIG Magazine caught up with Hoover to reflect on the 2015 season and see what’s next in 2016.
DIG: Favorite Game from last season?
Carley Hoover: My personal favorite game overall had to be the game I started against Oklahoma, just the atmosphere and the fans. For me, that was one of the bigger games until postseason, how many people were there. I just distinctly remember the seventh inning. I struck out the last batter, and I was looking at Kellsi [Kloss]. It was literally ecstatic with all the fans and the screaming. I just remember the last strike and it exploding and me and Kellsi finding each other. It was probably one of the best moments from last year.
DIG: What did you work on individually during the offseason?
CH: I’ve worked on my conditioning a little more this year to be able to sustain the long season. I don’t think I was as ready for it as I could’ve been last year. I just wanted to be in better shape to go longer this season. Of course I’m always trying to throw harder. Overall, my locations are better. I’m just a little more refined. My spins are sharper. I may or may not have added a new pitch into the toolbox, so we’ll see this year.
DIG: Favorite athlete?
CH: This will so sound so cliché, but Derek Jeter is my favorite athlete. I grew up loving the [New York] Yankees. My dad took me to Yankees games growing up, and he’s a huge Yankees fan. Jeter is just the epitome of what it means to be a good person combined with a good athlete, talent and hard work. He’s just a very impressive individual who is an icon.
DIG: Why did you transfer to LSU?
CH: I really just wanted to win a national championship, and I thought LSU would be best for that. After doing what we did last year and getting there, now we know exactly what it takes and then some. We’re definitely going to be finishing what we started last year this year and hopefully make it a habit these next couple years. I’m just really excited for this coming year and what we can do.
DIG: How does getting so close to winning it all inspire you to go the step further?
CH: It’s great, and it’s a historic moment for LSU. We’re thankful, and we worked hard to have what we had at third place. But at the same time, I just knew we could’ve done more. We’re doing more this year. We’re putting the work in this year, and we’re making sure that doesn’t happen again. It was probably one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt. Going into this offseason training, I felt that every day, and I think I’ll continue to feel it until we finish this.
DIG: Is it still a light atmosphere in the locker room?
CH: It’s a definitely a goofy atmosphere in the locker room and with the team. But when we’re practicing, though, it’s definitely a different attitude. It’s a little more serious on the field. We’re not just repping to rep. Every repetition has a purpose. There’s really purpose behind every single movement that we do on the field versus a lot of times last year we were just out there because we were supposed to be out there from two to five. It just feels like this year is going to be something special.
DIG: How excited are you to get out in front of the crowd at Tiger Park?
CH: The fans make Tiger Park what it is. Tiger Park is the hardest place in the country to play because of the fans and because of the atmosphere. It’s just cool. We’re putting in all this work. We want respect from them. We’re working hard for them, for the community, for Baton Rouge, for LSU. It’s just a really cool feeling to feel appreciated and feel loved by the fans and to mean something. You can’t really put a price on little girls coming up to you after games, idolizing you and wanting to know everything about you. It’s just a really special feeling and fans make this experience.