The weather is slowly getting warmer and that means softball season is now in full swing (pun intended). After splitting their indoor games against Bethany Lutheran and going 2-2 at the ACM Tournament last weekend, the team is hoping their trip to Tucson, Arizona over Spring Break will give them the opportunity to up their momentum and improve their .500 record.
However, ten games in six days can certainly take their toll on a team, especially one that has already been plagued by injuries in this young season. Kaela Jackson ’20 is out with a broken hand after a collision at home plate in the team’s opening doubleheader, and first years Audrey Meade ’21, Emily Cekander ’21 and Olive Tambou ’21 are all coming back from arm injuries during their inaugural seasons. In a big blow to the Scot’s offensive production, Julia Carpenter ’20, who received All-American honorable mention last year after leading the team in every offensive category, is battling a back injury which limits how much she can play each game.
Defensively, the Scots are hoping to be led once again by ace pitchers Sophie Migaz ’19 and Morghan Bean ’18. For the first time in years the pitching staff has numerous relief options with Cekander, Meade and fellow rookies Ava Cutler ’21 and Molly Hurley ’21. Both Migaz and Bean have had solid seasons as Scots, each with their own unique style that is difficult for opposing batters to adjust to. With multiple options in the bullpen, there is hope that the two will be able to pitch solid starts and have relief options that will allow them to avoid fatigue and injury.
Even with a much larger team than in the past, the Spring Break Tournament will still test the team. “We’re hoping to learn what kind of team we really are. Playing ten games in six days is really going to show us if we’re a scrappy team or not and I think it’s a huge time for people to learn their roles on the team,” Bean said.
These game-heavy Spring Break trips always take a toll on teams mentally and physically, so scrappiness and grit will be something the team will need to conjure to get through the week as well as the rest of the season. Looking past their Tucson trip, the season is theirs for the taking. Picked to finish ninth in the preseason coaches poll, the Scots are definitely coming in as an underdog, but given the competitive nature of MIAC Softball, any one team can beat any other, so the Scots will surely be looking to make a push this season.
“I have to say our goal, like always, is to get some upsets and make the MIAC tournament. Disrupt. Destroy. Dominate,” Vivi Gregorich ’18 said. This was a common sentiment among the team.
“I think we have a really strong team this year, with a lot of depth and a lot of potential… If we can be consistent, we can make MIAC playoffs, or at least finish .500 or above in conference. I really hope for consistency through all our conference games. Beating teams we should, and competing and playing our best against top teams,” Katja McKiernan ’18 said.
Sammie Barkan ’19 echoed her teammates. “My goal is for us to make the conference tournament. I think we have a team with all of the potential and individual skills. If we manage to bring it all together over the course of 40 games, we could be really successful,” she said.
As always, avoiding injuries will be key for the Scots, but strong upperclass leadership and a large first year class eager to contribute to the lineup has put the team in position to make a run into the postseason.