The softball team has 27 players this year after they gained seven new freshmen.
Since there is no fall season, the team is focusing on their basic skill-building and building up team spirit, Senior Kiersten Denning said.
“Our focus is constantly building confidence within ourselves and within the team. Obviously we are focusing on our skill, which is a constant thing we have to do,” Denning said. “Our focus right now is building that team chemistry, because we don’t get the outside experience that we usually do with one another so building that chemistry on the field.”
Denning said the softball team has to make the most of practice to become a closer team. In the past, the team would get together to study at the library, or they would have team dinners or hang out at a teammate’s house.
Now the team has to follow restrictions that limit their chances at connecting, Denning said. One major rule is that they can’t have more than four people in a room with them.
The softball team has 20 hours of practice a week. Right now they are making the most of it before winter comes, Abbigail Klatt, a freshman said.
During practices, the softball team wears face masks and keeps a six feet distance the best they can. To accommodate for COVID and lack of competition, the coaches had to get creative Lauren Eamiguel a senior said.
“I’ve noticed that our coach does something different with our practice plans every single time,” Eamiguel said. “I think it is a part of him not wanting us to do the same thing, and since we don’t have games to look forward to this kind of switches it up so we are kind of on our toes a lot.”
Without a fall season and a questionable spring season, the seniors have few chances of competition so Denning said, they are making the most of everything.
“There are a lot of unknowns and I think that’s my biggest thing,” Denning said. “We don’t know if we are going to have a season, and there is also the social aspect is also because we are college students and we want to hang out with our friends and even that is kind of limited. I think it is just missing out on all the lasts that we have together.”
The freshman this year came in knowing how last year USD lost their spring season due to COVID and arrived ready to be flexible if anything changes.
“I came in with no expectations at all, kind of just taking in what I can get in the moment now,” Klatt said.
Right now the freshmen have the chance to catch up to the level of the upperclassmen.
“They are such a big help if we need anything if we have any questions we can just go up and ask them. They’ve been helpful since day one,” Klatt said.
Saturdays the team gets to have scrimmages that help with the want to compete Eamiguel said.
“In our practices, we try and make it more competitive because that is the most we will get in the fall. Especially on our Saturdays when we scrimmage,” Eamiguel said. “We kinda get game-day ready for Saturdays.”
There are no officially scheduled competitions for the softball team as of now. Before COVID-19, 20 players were allowed to travel, this year it has changed to 16, leaving 11 members behind when the opportunity of travel comes up.