By: Holly Krampitz, Transcript correspondent
After a challenging preseason and a successful Florida trip, the Ohio Wesleyan softball team starts their spring season with chemistry that could possibly make them more successful than in the past.
The softball team has been training all year long, a preseason filled with exercises designed to prepare them for the regular season.
“It got us in shape so we won’t be tired in the games, we got to prepare plays and learn more about the game,” freshman softball player Erin Ferguson said.
But preseason was not just about conditioning the players physically, it also helped the team mentally.
“Preseason is a lot of mental preparation right off the bat, it prepares us to push when there is only a little bit of fuel left,” sophomore Kayla Pelham said.
During spring break the team traveled to Florida where they played two games a day, coming out with a record of 7-3. The trip consisted of constant softball, but was a bonding experience for the players.
“We were constantly with each other so we bonded and had better chemistry,” Ferguson said. This was the first time the team got to play together in actual games and found that they work very well together.
“Florida is really where we became a family, playing with everyone was so natural,” Pelham said. The team improved from last year’s record in Florida which was 5-5.
The team is hopeful that this season will go successfully. Their record is currently 8-6 and have games almost every week and practice every day.
“We lost some games that we shouldn’t have but we are learning and growing from our mistakes,” Ferguson said. Even with the losses, some players are confident that with the right attitude they can win.
“We have a lot of talent and are very close, so as long as we keep having fun we should be pretty successful,” Pelham said. Some players say that this season is different because of the connection the players have with one another.
“It is more like a family, and that makes us play better because we are so close,” Ferguson said. Another reason that this season is seemingly different from the past ones is because of the amount of flexibility the players have.
“From what I’ve heard, this team is really different because we have a lot of depth,” freshman Phoebe Bush said. “You can put the 18th man out on the field and they will do a really good job, so I feel like we are going to go a lot farther than previous seasons.”
With the addition of six new freshman to the team this year, the team has had to make adjustments. Although the time to get acclimated can sometimes be difficult, Bush and Ferguson said they were welcomed and treated equally.
“The upperclassman are there to help us whenever we need and since we are new to the program they really helped us learn,” Ferguson said. Along with Ferguson, Ashley Day and Kayla Richard are freshman starters this year.
Because of their family-like attitude, the team is always there to motivate each other. The softball coach, Cassie Cunningham, has been coaching for 15 years and puts a strong emphasis on remaining positive.
“Everything is a learning experience with our coach. She is a really positive person and wants us to learn from our mistakes,” Ferguson said. Ohio Wesleyan softball is a tight-knit group of girls who are dedicated to the sport.