After an eventful spring training trip to Arizona and two conference double headers, the Foresters softball team sits at a 3-11 overall record while 0-6 in conference play.
As the Foresters look forward to the regular season, sophomore Lea Buckenmyer is hoping that her team’s passion for the game will translate to the dugout.
“I’m looking forward to competing in every game we play,” Buckenmyer said. “The team gets along well and has a lot of passion for the game. I’m excited to see how that translates on the softball field.”
Buckenmyer excelled on the mound in the March 15 2-1 win against #RV Dickinson State (N.D.) as she pitched the entire game, giving up one run and eight hits while striking out three . On the offensive end sophomore Bess Fiechter played heroine as she doubled junior Katie DePew in twice, first in the opening inning and then again in the sixth.
DePew returns as the top hitter for the Foresters as she tallied 67 hits and boasted a .381 batting average last season.
Still seeking a conference win with multiple postponed games due to inclement weather, other challenges present themselves to the Forester team.
“I think that for any team the mental aspect is always the most challenging part of the game,” sophomore Caylan DeLucia said. “Softball is a game of failure. If you hit three out every ten times, you’re in the hall of fame – yet that still means you didn’t hit seven out of those ten times. It’s a hard perspective to grasp because as athletes we strive for perfection and settle for nothing short of excellence.”
DeLucia said that by keeping their mindset on “using our talents for the One who gave them to us” and “keep[ing] our heads up with hearts full of confidence ” the team will carry on.
Head coach Doug Gower is optimistic about his seasoned group of returners who made history last year by securing the team’s first-ever bid to the NAIA National Softball Championships.
“These girls are focused,” Gower said. “They have good chemistry. We have a talented incoming freshmen class. We have speed, strength, and confidence as a team .”
Gower said that he expects to compete for the Crossroads League championship and return to Nationals.
After suffering tough losses to the top three teams in the CL League who all remain unbeaten – Indiana Wesleyan University (4-3, 6-5) March 20, Marian University (2-1, 8-0) March 25 and Mount Vernon Nazarene University (8-0, 4-3) March 21– the Foresters will hope to regain their momentum against the University of Saint Francis at home April 3.
Junior Kaylin Yon believes the biggest strength of the squad is their team unity.
“It’s great to see everyone getting along so well,” Yon said. “This is the most unified team that I’ve played on so far in my college career. Unity is such a huge thing when it comes to sports teams. If teams don’t get along, it makes communication harder, and it makes everyone playing together that much harder.”
In addition to its unity, DeLucia added that the team has an all-around athleticism that could prove itself a valuable asset. She said that each girl on the team is “extremely talented,” saying that if her teammates “each use their talents” collectively “then they will be able to accomplish many great things.”