Giddens brings winning mentality to USF squad

USF senior second baseman Britta Giddens knows a thing or two about playing softball, but in high school there was one thing she didn’t know how to do.

“Before I came to USF, I didn’t know how to lose,” Giddens said. “I expected to win the moment I got here because I didn’t know what it was all about. The bottom line is that I just hate to lose.”

That was because of her high school career.

Giddens came to USF in 2005 from Bartow High School, which is known for its strong softball program. In her four years, Giddens won four state championships and lost only five games, earning her a spot in the Bartow High School Hall of Fame.

“We try to always recruit players with that winning mentality,” said USF coach Ken Eriksen. “If you look at our roster, the majority of our players come from winning programs. The “L” word (loss) is not in their vocabulary. They go into every day thinking that they’re going to win. We need those types of players in order to be successful.”

When Giddens was looking for a place to continue her softball career, there was only
one option.

“To be honest, when I started looking for colleges, USF was the first school that came to mind,” she said. “Coach Eriksen is a great coach, and I always wanted to come here.”

Giddens continued to accumulate accolades during her USF career. On USF’s all-time lists, she is fourth in doubles (45), sixth in home runs (17), seventh in runs (127), ninth in walks (69) and 11th in hits (216).

Giddens reached the 200-hit club March 7 in a 2-1 win over North Carolina State and leads the team with five home runs and 28 RBIs.

“I’ve heard a lot of people talking about those milestones, but I don’t look at statistics like that,” she said. “I had no idea that I made the 200-hit club until the other day. It’s a good accomplishment for me and I’m excited about it.”

Giddens has emerged as a team leader in stats, but has also been a leader off the field.

“I prefer to lead by example,” she said. “I take this game very seriously and I’m very passionate about it. I love softball because it’s my life. As far as leadership goes, I just try doing that on the field.”

Giddens’ teammates see her as a fierce competitor. Senior pitcher Bree Spence said Giddens has brought intensity to the team.

“She’s definitely one of the greatest competitors I’ve ever played with,” Spence said. “She has that scrappy attitude in her, and I believe that she is not afraid of anything.”

The Bartow native was named first-team All-Big East the past two seasons, playing in more than 120 games.

“She has been the face of our program over the past few years,” Eriksen said. “As Britta (Giddens) goes, our team goes. She’s the person we want having the bat with runners in scoring position. Overall, she means a lot to this program.”

Junior first baseman Ashley Bullion has played with Giddens in the infield for the past four years and said they’ve grown together on the field.

“Britta (Giddens) has been on the right side of the infield with me since my freshman year,” she said. “It’s been great to have someone like her that I can always count on to back me up. She’s a great teammate, and I’m going to miss playing with her.”

As Giddens’ career comes to a close, she has one major goal left: to get to another super regional and possibly a College World Series.

In 2006, Giddens was a part of the USF team that reached the program’s only super regional, which the Bulls lost to the UCLA Bruins. She said she’s hoping to get back.

“The 2006 team was an amazing team,” she said. “It was great to get the opportunity to travel and play a team like UCLA because few teams on the East Coast are able to do that.”

Giddens plans to continue her education by going to graduate school at USF. However, one thing may change that.

“I’m pretty sure that I will go to grad school, but I have given coaching a thought,” Giddens said. “That’s up there toward the top of my list — but we’ll wait and see.”