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first_img Published on April 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nicktoneytweets Comments The awkward silence in Veronica Grant’s car indicated her passenger, Jasmine Watson, had something bad on her mind.During Wednesday night’s road doubleheader against DePaul, Watson managed only one hit in six at-bats with three strikeouts for Syracuse (35-12, 12-4). And as the two teammates pulled into the SU Softball Stadium parking lot for Thursday’s practice, Grant could tell Watson was still angry about her performance.With a quick joke about Watson’s less-than-stellar plate appearances, Grant made sure Watson didn’t take that anger into practice.‘You go up there (to bat) and it’s so serious,’ Grant said. ‘But sometimes making light of the situation eases whatever you’re going through.’Head coach Leigh Ross said Grant leads through her unique sense of humor. When an SU player has a bad at-bat or a bad game, Grant is the first one to joke about it in the dugout or the locker room. And while her teammates don’t immediately notice it, Ross said Grant takes the focus off their poor plays and motivates them to play better.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat sense of humor has helped her overcome her own struggles this season. After a hamstring injury sidelined her on March 17, the junior center fielder dealt with similar hitting slumps.Grant since straightened out her hitting woes. As the team heads to Connecticut to play three games against the Huskies (21-23, 9-10) this weekend, Grant is arguably SU’s best hitter.She’s only played in 35 games, but Grant is still third on the team in batting average. Her above-average range in the field allowed forLisaira and Shirley Daniels to return to corner outfield spots and maximize the potential of Ross’ lineup.On Wednesday against the Blue Demons, Grant showed why Ross considers her ‘one of the most well-rounded players’ on her roster.In the top of the seventh inning, Grant, who was already 3-for-4, hit the go-ahead two-run home run.DePaul rallied in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings. But in the top of the ninth, Grant sparked a rally by smacking a two-out double and giving second baseman Stephanie Watts a chance to hit.‘Stephanie was telling me ‘just get me an at-bat,’ said Grant. ‘I trusted her. And then she goes up there and hits the game-winning shot.’Grant said it took a while for her teammates to understand her dry sarcasm. Yet, that sarcasm is predicated on the same sense of mutual trust she felt when Watts ended the second DePaul game with a two-run home run.She never jokes about her team’s occasional struggles with the intent of magnifying them, but instead adds light to an undesirable situation to help her team move forward.‘They understand that I’m doing it to calm us all down,’ Grant said. ‘You have to play the game with the outlook like it’s just a game, and when the bad comes, we all laugh at it. They expect that I’ll be honest with them, and I am.’SU has expected more from its recovering centerfielder since she returned from that injury in early April.After a few hitless games of her own, Grant broke out on the road against Notre Dame. She went 7-11 with five RBI on the weekend and hit her first home run of the season-a solo shot in the top of the seventh to force extra innings.Grant said that once the team went up to bat in the top of the eighth, she ‘trusted her teammates to end the game.’ Julie Wambold did just that with another home run, clinching SU’s 30th win on the season.‘That’s what I love about this team,’ Grant said. ‘We have each other’s backs.’Watson said Grant backs her up with her jokes, and said that laughing at this recent cold streak helps her move on from her worst games.‘In the moment, you’re focused on putting everything behind you, but sometimes you don’t,’ Watson said. ‘So we laugh about it and joke about it. It keeps us grounded and we need that sometimes.’[email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more