By Jill Campbell
After less than a month into their regular season, it’s difficult to keep track of the various recognition the Springfield College softball team has received.
The team earned a spot in the NFCA Top 25 for the first time since 2001, improving their rank to No. 20 just yesterday. They’re currently boasting an impressive 16-2 overall record while going 5-1 in conference play. Individual players have received honors, with Allie Wheeler collecting ECAC Rookie of the Week twice and Carianna Gasdia racking up ECAC and NEWMAC nods of her own.
This week’s superstars are juniors Kirsten Drobiak and Talia Loda.
Loda has been the Pride’s go-to in the circle so far this season. From the moment she stepped onto the Kissimmee, Fla. dirt she was ready to play, tossing 10 innings and only allowing a single hit in her first outing. This dominant performance earned her NEWMAC Pitcher of the Week.
And even more impressively, that wasn’t just an on-day. Loda has been able to stay locked in consistently, picking up a pair of wins, striking out 11 and allowing zero runs just last week. This earned her NEWMAC honors once again.
Loda attributes her success to Springfield’s lengthy seven week preseason, in which she was able to fine tune her deep arsenal of pitches.
“I’ve really been working with our pitching coach on getting my movement pitches to work better and working on keeping batters off balance with my change-up,” said Loda. “Our pitching coach, Coach Ali, has really been helping me improve on my change-up and Coach Kate always gives me tips. I think it’s been helping and working for me.”
However, Loda is also quick to point out that her own performance is aided most heavily by the players behind her.
“I think the biggest reason for my success in the circle would be my defense. They give their all to make sure that nothing gets through the infield and the outfielders are great at making sure nothing drops out there,” said Loda. “Our team has also been doing a great job of getting timely hits and scoring runs when we need them so that helps as well.”
One of the consistent contributors of those timely hits is Drobiak, who has already hammered three homers and plated 29 RBIs so far this season, giving her a behemoth .460 batting average.
Just like Loda, Drobiak also credits her constant accomplishments at the plate to those around her.
“I think that a lot of my success is due to the confidence that I feel from the support of my coaches and teammates. This year, the team is extremely close and everyone is supporting each other, making it easy to feel the confidence needed to succeed,” said Drobiak.
It isn’t hard to see why the Pride has been excelling so much already this season. Both Loda and Drobiak have exemplified the team’s all-hands-on-deck mindset, which is crucial to building chemistry and ensuring that they all operate as one team with one goal. They do not look at their own hard work as the reason for their success, but instead credit coaches and teammates. They view themselves as pieces of the puzzle.
If Loda and Drobiak, along with the rest of the Pride, can keep doing what they’re doing, they may be seeing a NEWMAC Championship appearance in their future.