If someone took you and three of your friends and put you on a sports team with nine people you had never played with before, how well could you expect to do? This is the situation Eastern University’s softball team currently finds itself in, with only four returning players and nine freshman taking the field this spring. The words “inexperienced” and “rebuilding year” could certainly be thrown around by someone on the outside looking in at this team. However, I decided instead to let the players speak for themselves, to get a true feel for the attitude and expectations of this young team.
In seeing what the girls had to say, I really got a sense of optimism and excitement for the season. “I’m very excited to get into our season with this developing team,” said freshman catcher Erin Johnson, “preseason has been very productive and we have grown as players and teammates.” “We are a young team,” added freshman outfielder Kasey Williams, “but we all came together and are working hard.”
Though optimistic about the way the season will turn out, players admitted it was tough early on. In the words of freshman outfielder Erica Chopas, “It hasn’t necessarily been a struggle but we all definitely have to work hard at learning the ropes of being on a new team.” She added that most of the struggles stemmed from communicating on the field and gelling with each girl’s playing style. Kasey agreed saying, “At first there were some rough patches but now since we have been practicing every day, we really improved a lot and we are still improving.”
Despite those struggles, as Kasey said the team has been improving, and the freshman have given much of the credit to the returning players. “Having such a supportive group of returners/captains has made the past few months very successful and more importantly fun,” said freshman infielder Ashley Siegman.
Speaking of the returners, they also weighed in on this coming season. Junior captain Jessica Baker admitted that this year could be a rebuilding year, but she also said that the freshman have worked hard and that she looks forward to working with the other captains to try and put together a winning season.
It was the words of sophomore Katelyn Donald though that really put this season in perspective. She said, “Once we are all on the field we become a team no matter what our ages are.” With that attitude and continued hard work from the girls, Eastern softball could be a force to be reckoned with this year and for years to come.