Sophomore Samantha Slade recently sat down with the Charlotte 49ers athletic media relations office to talk about the upcoming season.

The Skinny: Slade, a super-energized and versatile sophomore, started all 55 games at right field and shortstop last season as a freshman. In 2012, she batted .252 with 40 hits and 29 runs scored. Slade was second on the team in home runs (four), doubles (eight) and RBIs (29). Her second career home run was a grand slam in a 5-1 win over NC State (3/28). Slade went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, including the walk-off hit in a victory over Dayton that ensured a 49er trip to the conference tournament (5/5).

Q: The 2013 softball season is right around the corner. What are you looking forward to most this season?

A: With the season less than two weeks away, I’m most excited for all the team bonding that is about to take place. One thing about Charlotte softball is that our team is unique and we are one big crazy family. I know the travel trips are going to be epic and I need to go ahead and warn coach that she’s in for one unforgettable season. 

Q:  You recently just got back from your final break before the season starts. What did you do?

A: Haha! Oh yes, sweet Christmas break! Well… we were given a workout packet before we left with a lifting and conditioning schedule. I will be honest and say that maybe all the running didn’t get finished but I did workout. I also got to see over half of my teammates during break and that was important because we all realize that the team’s dynamic is a priority for us this season. 

Q: The fall season gave you a glimpse at your team's capabilities and things that the 49ers can improve on. What do you think Charlotte's strengths will be for the season? What are some things that Charlotte can improve on?

A: This fall we went 7-1 which isn’t too shabby but there is obviously room for improvement. This fall I got to see how well the team worked together and leaders like Bri (Briana Gwaltney) and Kalie Lang stepping up to lead the rookies. Communication is something that can always be improved on along with more aggressiveness at the plate. We can’t  go out there and play with nerves because champions don’t get nervous in tight situations, they just do what they’re best at; relax and play the best they can. 

Q: What was the most memorable moment of the fall season for you?

A:  The most memorable moment was a combination of homeruns by one of our freshmen, Jessica Plemmons. Wow! That’s all you can say about that girl. She comes in as a freshman and just does what she can for the team. It’s such a blessing to have a great young athlete that can come on a team. She’s so focused and determined out on the field. I love watching her play.

Q: What teammate do you look up to/admire and why?

A: I look up to Lorena Vela. She graduated last year but she was my mom on the team. She’s one of those girls who doesn’t talk herself up but lets her actions speak for her. She was so encouraging and had real heart for the game. I never heard a mean word come out her mouth about another player and she always had a positive attitude. I love her!

Charlotte opens the 2013 season Friday, February 8 as it hosts the Fast Pitch Classic beginning at 1 p.m. when it takes on Wisconsin.