Volume 97 Issue 8 Sports

Young team shows potential on the softball diamond

by Dallas Huff

The Juniata softball team has recently kicked off their season, hoping to have a big turnaround from last year. With a larger roster size than previous years, this goal is more achievable. Along with the 11 returning players, seven freshman have joined the team.

“I was not satisfied with last year’s outcome,” said senior Paige Dennison. “We didn’t do as well as we could have once conference play started.” This has given the softball team motivation to pursue their goals for this year.

The roster size from last season was a big issue that limited the team at some points in the 2015 season. “At one point our numbers were so low that we had to go out and find more people to join the team,” said Dennison

“Last year was more of a learning year. Our record didn’t show how much we learned as a team,” said sophomore Allie Baney. “We became more of a unit and an organized team.”  Many obstacles were put in front of the team last year, and although they faced the challenges well, this year gives them a new start to reach their goals. The learning from last year has acted as a stepping stone for the chances the team has this season.

The depth at pitching is a key component of this year’s potential success. With seven pitchers on this year’s roster, it allows for more options at each game. Last year there were only two girls who could pitch, leaving the options fairly limited and not allowing much rest for the pitchers.

The team this year is young. “We have a really strong freshman class,” said Dennison. The team agrees that the chemistry is already there regardless of the number of new faces on the team this year. Having such a strong bond with so many new players on the roster helps the team to play as one and collectively become successful. “It’s a chance to start fresh, having such a young team,” said Baney.

The season officially started when the team took its annual trip to Florida over spring break. Throughout the week, the team earned four wins and four losses, an improved record from last season’s trip, which resulted in the team going three and five. The team picked up losses to Saint Joseph’s (Me.) with a score of 11-2, Marywood with a score of 11-6, Emerson 13-6 and a 5-2 loss against Clarkson. They defeated Mount Ida by a score of 8-2, Waynesburg 11-10 after eight innings, Lancaster Bible by a score of 4-1, and they picked up a 10-7 victory over Penn State Brandywine.

“I think there was potential to win a couple more of those games,” said Baney. “But I was happy with the potential that I saw in our team throughout the week.”.

“It’s a good opportunity to get your feet wet, especially for the freshman trying to get through the difficult transition from high school to college,” said Baney. The games played in Florida gave the underclassmen a chance to get adjusted to the team and the speed of the game and prepare for the upcoming schedule.

The potential for this season was also noticeable throughout the first few games. Having a young team, it was a chance for the underclassman to gain experience for the rest of the season.

The Eagles then traveled to Penn State Altoona for a double header, where they walked away with a win by a score of 3-2 and a lost the second game 4-1.. Paige Dennison, Jennifer Carthew, and Chrisi Lerchen all earned RBIs in Juniata’s victory over Penn State Altoona.

The softball team then hosted Mount Aloysius for a double header on Saturday, March 19th. The team again split the matchup with one win and one loss. They defeated Mt. Aloysius in the first matchup by a score of 8-0 in five innings of play and fell to the Mounties in the second game by a score of 7-2.

Through the first 12 games, the softball team posts a winning percentage of 50 percent, with a record of 6 wins and 6 losses and averages 4.59 runs per game. However, the team has yet to play a conference game this season. Senior Holly Bettinger and sophomore Kerigan Ammerman have both hit a homerun along with Paige Dennison with three homeruns so far.

Juniata’s first conference game of the season will be when the team hosts Susquehanna on the 25th of March for a double header. They also has ten conference matchups to look forward to in the month of April.

The team goals for this season are relatively the same as previous years: make it to the Landmark Conference tournament and win more games than the year before. However, the team believes that this year’s roster along with the depth at positions gives them a better chance of reaching these goals. Once a few adjustments are made, the team believes they have the recipe for success this season.

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