By: Kayla Merriweather
With a conference record of 3-2 and an overall record of 8-3, the Lady Wildcats look to make significant strides this season. Two major headlines of the season have been inclement weather and the amount of freshmen on the team. The two weeks lost in February, in addition to various rainy days over the course of the season, creating a rhythm has been difficult for the team.
In the a varsity team of only sixteen players, nine are freshmen. Although this is positive for the future of Wildcat softball, it has also been problematic.
“We have a lot of freshmen and them learning how to play varsity softball has been a challenge for the most part,” says Coach Joe Simmons. “Most of them have played some type of organized ball, but not at this speed, so I think them playing at this speed is going to be the hardest thing to adjust to.”
“I think we’ve been playing pretty well, but we definitely haven’t played up to our full potential,” says freshman Katie Characklis, who plays third base. “I think it’s really our mental game we need to work on the most. We need to focus on what’s happening right then and there and not think about anything else.”
Despite the team’s youth, they have been successful. “I think we’ve won some games that early on that we didn’t think we’d win because we’ve had pretty good team camaraderie,” says Simmons. “The young kids have bought into what we do and how we do it and I think that’s why we’ve had some success early.”
The team has a record of 3-3 at home and have an impressive 5-0 record away. Given their current performance, the lady wildcats are in a good position to qualify for the playoffs. However, ending the season on a high note is imperative.
“Non-conference games don’t affect playoff position, but we still want to win them,” says sophomore Jenny Suwanmanee, an outfielder. “It’s the conference games that are really important, and we are aiming to go undefeated for the rest of the regular season to be ranked high for the playoffs.”
Photo courtesy: newsandobserver.com