Softball team working to succeed
By Macy Ferguson
Published on Friday, February 22, 2013
It cannot claim to have hit anything out of the park quite yet, but the Dartmouth softball team is getting closer to dirt fields and open skies as they take off for their first contest this weekend. They will travel to Deland, Fla., to play in the Stetson Tournament, hosted by Stetson University.
Looking to improve on last year’s 14-25, 7-13 Ivy record, the Big Green will hit the ground running with five tournament games.
“We want to start off strong and show everyone what we’re made of,” pitcher Kristen Rumley ’15, who ranked in the top 15 for strikeouts in the NCAA last season, said. “We’re aiming to start on a high and to end on a high.”
In practice, the team has shown high capacity for hard work and an even higher drive for success. The team hopes to win the Ivy League Championships, but that may be just a stepping stone to something more.
“I want us to reach the College World Series,” Rumley said. “It’s a high standard, but we have a good team so it’s definitely not out of the question.”
Goal-setting has been a focus for players at both the individual and team level. Representatives from Dartmouth Peak Performance worked with the team to use these goals to better mold their work ethic.
“It’s been easier to hold ourselves accountable since our goals have reminded us what we want to do this season,” pitcher and first baseman Rachel Hein ’15 said. “Our goals have definitely kept us in check.”
The team has stepped up its training regimen, and, compared to last season, is already ahead of schedule.
“We’ve been really efficient this season at holding each other accountable at getting all our lifts and practices in,” Hein said.
Official practices started on Feb. 1, but players attended individual sessions with coaches throughout fall term. In practice, the team focuses on creating defensive situations and simulating game play by incorporating live pitching and hitting.
The team misses playing outside, but practicing indoors has not hindered their progress.
“We just kind of roll with it,” Kara Curosh ’14 said. “It’s a lot better than nothing.”
Players work on gauging reaction tendencies by staging scrimmages, pairing catchers with pitchers and grouping outfielders and infielders. They hope these practical drills will improve their chances in the upcoming season.
With six new freshmen this season, the team has tried to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses as everyone gets used to working together.
“This season will be a learning experience for everyone, even the upperclassmen, as we learn to work with each other,” Curosh said.
Players are optimistic about the team dynamic, a major component of training. The coaches facilitate multiple team events and programs for players to get to know one another, and the team participated in an official Navy Seal workout for two days.
“It was huge for team bonding,” Hein said. “It was a great way to start the winter and bring the team together.”
The team as a whole has not shied away from putting in extra effort, which helps incorporate the freshmen and ensure that everyone is on the same page. They hope to benefit from increased team unity.
The team has some inexperienced players this season, but everyone is contributing to the team and moving in the right direction, Curosh said.
“It’s not every year that you have great team chemistry,” Hein said. “It’s not that we haven’t had it in past years, but we’ve achieved it earlier this season.”
The team looks to maintain momentum as they open up the season.
“We’ve accomplished a lot so far in the off-season and we aim to continue with that work ethic,” Curosh said. “Work ethic and mental focus are two things we’ve done really well so far that we would like to maintain.”
Curosh is ready to see the team’s preseason effort translate into tangible success.
“I think all of us have been working our butts off,” Curosh said. “We’re all really excited to play on a dirt field with some sunshine.”