Things were starting to heat up two weeks ago in Kissimmee, Fla., and not just the weather.
The Springfield College Pride softball team took its annual spring break trip down south and returned home with six wins and four losses. Head coach Julie Perrelli was pleased with the outcome.
“We played some very tough teams down there. But being able to practice outside really helped us to prepare. We saw a lot of great things and had a lot of highlights. So overall, we were really happy with how everything went.”
At the beginning of the season, there were some loose ends that needed to be tied up and holes that needed to be filled, one of them being the shortstop position. Freshman Sam Cox proved to be the answer to that dilemma.
“That’s a position that she hadn’t played and we put her there because we needed her there and she kind of shined,” remarked Perrelli. “She owned the position and did really well there. So that’s one that I was really impressed with.”
On the other end of the spectrum were the veterans, who showed their senior leadership and executed when the situation called for it. Elizabeth Joseph cracked her first homer of the year, Jenna Webb had a batting average of over .400, and Melissa Nelson anchored the infield and produced at the plate with a double that propelled the Pride to victory.
However, Nelson’s late-game heroics weren’t the only time the Pride struck in the final hour. Four of their six victories came from walk-off hits, credited to seniors Nelson and Joseph, junior Alicia Pavadore, and sophomore Mackenzie Navarro.
The Springfield pitching staff also held their own on the defensive end.
“Whether it was our starter, our reliever, or our closers, they all did really well. Nicole Cring pitched really well; I was happy with her results. Talia Loda, Shelby Allen, Jordyn Moquin – it’s so tough to single just one person out when the whole staff did such a good job,” commented Perrelli.
The trip revealed the Pride’s all-hands-on-deck attitude, with every player contributing to the overall success of the team. Diving plays in the outfield, gunning out runners from behind the plate, timely hitting – it all indicates a promising future for the rest of the season.
But even with all of the positive takeaways, there is more work to be done if the Pride wants to achieve their goal of becoming NEWMAC champions.
“Part of that is getting into a groove of facing different live pitching. I think the more consistent we are in doing that the better,” said Perrelli. “We also focused a lot on extra base hits. Rather than just meeting the ball, we wanted to hit the ball and that turned out to be really great against Coast Guard Academy. We were focusing on RBIs and doubles and that worked out really well so I definitely want to improve on that and keep moving forward.”
At the heart of the athletic spirit is the constant drive to do better, to never be satisfied. It’s what keeps them coming back for more. Coach Perrelli believes in this just the same for her team.
“I want to make everything more solid and bring it up to the next level. We need to keep playing it out and keep getting better every day. We can’t settle.”