By Chris Gionta
After getting out to its best 30-game start in program history, the Springfield College softball team has had to face some challenges. The Pride have lost their last seven games, but because of their amazing stretch to begin the season, they are playing in the NEWMAC tournament.
The team feels refreshed to start a new stage of the season.
“This week is a new week, and a brand new season, and everyone is 0-0,” said Springfield head coach Kate Bowen.
Despite the seven-game slide, there is optimism to take away from those losses. The Pride have been able to pack the bases effectively, and only need to be better at getting those runners in.
“We have had so many runners on, and then not get the timely hit,” Bowen said. “So, I think focusing this week on that pressure situation to believe in yourself and get the job done, and if it’s not going to be you, it’s going to be the person behind you… This week, we’re going to get the timely hit.”
The NEWMAC softball tournament is made up of six teams, with the top two seeds getting a bye. It is a double elimination tournament, and the Pride’s first game is on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. against No. 5 Coast Guard at Babson College. With a victory, Springfield’s next opponent would be No. 1 Babson, and with a loss, its next opponent would be determined through the results of a couple of different games in the bracket.
The other five opponents in the tournament — Babson, WPI, MIT, Coast Guard, and Wheaton — happen to be the last five opponents they faced in the regular season. Springfield has seen each team in action in the last two and a half weeks, which is something the team looks to use to its advantage.
“It’s actually great we’ve seen most of the teams recently because we have seen their pitchers recently,” Bowen said. “And I think, too, in those games against them, we have left runners on, and we didn’t get the timely hits. We were right there in those games.”
There is a lot of motivation riding with the Pride heading into the week, as they know the implications of both the continuing of their season and the end of their season.
“This last week going into playoffs, especially for our seniors, this is what you work for,” Bowen said. “For us right now, going into this week, [it’s about] just playing as hard as you can, because this is potentially our last week — we don’t want it to be — but I think [it’s about] just playing every game like it’s your last.”
After playing 38 games in 49 days while winning 26 of them, Springfield is excited that their efforts in the regular season have allowed them an opportunity to win the NEWMAC title.
“You work so hard all season for playoffs,” Bowen said. “This is where you want to be.”
Photo: Springfield College Athletics