The combination of a fairly young team, an ever-changing lineup, and an extreme battle with Mother Nature’s snow schedule has proved a challenge for Lawrence University’s softball team. The team has made it through the season thus far with a 10-13 record.
Five out of the 13 players are freshmen, so the team has been working hard to place everyone in the best possible positions. As each change is made and time goes on, the team is looking for progress. Shannon Murray, one of the Viking’s starting pitchers, said, “When we first started out this year, we struggled a little bit trying to fit all of our puzzle pieces together. However, over the course of the season our team has come together pretty well. Now we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and are better able to play in sync with each other.”
Although they are young, the team is proud of the progress that has been made. It takes a lot of work to transform from players on a high school team to college athletes, but the freshmen have done well. Everyone has been improving. The team’s only senior Carli Gurholt said, “This has been one of the best years for us taking care of the ball. Though we are very young, we take care of the ball well.”
Despite the progress of the team’s freshman, many of the girls feel that their current record could be much better. Cathy Kaye said, “Looking at our record and the teams we have played, it’s disappointing. We’ve let a lot of games slip through our fingers, and with the goals that we have, those games have to be won.” Gurholt said, “There have been some really close games we have lost against ranked teams that we could have won. These types of games come down to mental toughness and execution. Again, we still have a lot of games to play and I suspect there will be many [more] improvements.”
Although the team does not have a winning record, each game has provided opportunities for learning and improving, and there are still possibilities ahead. “In those games that we didn’t come away with a ‘W’ we learned a lot about our team and teammates, like what positions different players can play and the necessity of scoring runners in scoring positions,” said Kaye.
With three conference doubleheaders left, Gurholt explained that the North Division is still “up for grabs.” The team still has a chance to make it into the Midwest Conference tournament, but they need to play it right.
“We need to be more disciplined at the plate, but at the same time, more aggressive. For a few years now, our offense fuels our defense; we have not seen this quite yet this year. I personally prefer to be the “away” team and score first, so our offense can fuel our defense,” said Gurholt.
Kaye believes anything is possible for the Vikings. “We have the record we haven’t even begun to tap into our full potential. Up until now we have relied on our pitchers to get us out of tough innings, however, we’ve been working on making the routine plays on defense and having a solid at bats on offense. Once we make these minor adjustments as a team, we’re going to be pretty damn good!”