By Yishi Liang
With a 0-21 record, two torn ACLs and a relatively new team and coaching staff, Grinnell softball players have acknowledged that the odds are not in their favor. However, the women have maintained their drive to win and improve despite all their setbacks.
With only 12 players on the team, with three being brand-new to the sport (Jeanette Au ’16, Connie Lee ’15 and Jordan Matosky ’16), there is a great amount of pressure on each player to perform and play positions they may not be comfortable with when needed. Though this is not an issue most teams would like to face, it has allowed individuals to become better all-around players and the team to grow as a whole.
“We’re just working with what we have. Yes, it’d be nice to have backup, but we don’t,” Au said. “Everyone is willing to try something new. Everyone has been stepping up.”
In addition to taking on new roles, players have set their own personal goals. While outfielder Robin Campbell ’16 had played softball for several years before joining Grinnell’s team, she knows that there is always room for improvement.
“I want to become a better hitter and outfielder,” Campbell said. “I want to become quicker and get better at judging the ball.”
The desire to improve can be seen across the team. Everyone wants to contribute the most that they can because they know how crucial every player is to the team. For instance, Au noted a recent incident where she was struck in the face with a ball but continued playing because she knew that there were not enough players to fill her position.
The small roster has been a challenge that the softball team has faced in the past. Both the coaches and players have been working hard to change this for the future through efforts to recruit new players and increase campus interest in the sport. Though this has shown some promising results, with five potential new players for next year’s season, change will not be instantaneous.
“It’ll take time to get rid of the negative stigma about the softball team,” Campbell said. “Our coach is definitely preparing us.”
In addition to helping the players adjust to new positions and improve their skill, head coach Amanda Reckamp has not let the team spirit slip throughout the season.
“Our coach stays calm and encouraging,” Au said. “Sometimes, I think she believes in us more than we do.”
With only a handful of games left, the team still hopes to close the season with a win on their record.
“I have a lot of faith in my team. I know we can win. I feel like we have to want it more than any other team,” Campbell said. “We have to go into the games with confidence.”
Despite the pressure, the injuries and the losses, the women of the softball team have stayed devoted to their team and their sport. Their record is far from a representation of the team’s unwavering determination.