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Varsity softball creates new away game traditions

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After the resignation of former head coach, Susie Bocock, the varsity softball team was forced to make changes for a successful season, which has not been the case in former years. Not only did Randy Hill take over as the new head coach for the team, but he also hired three assistant coaches in order to help out with the conditioning, outfield, infield, pitching and catching. The new coaching staff created a new atmosphere for this year’s team.

Before the team gets on the bus to away games, they meet in the field house to get their uniforms on, snacks for the bus ride, acquire any equipment and grab other materials. The field house is also their place to talk about their expectations as a team both with and without the coaches present. Junior Kailey Pitsenbarger believes this part of being with team is an important part. Pitsenbarger plays both first base and outfield.

“[The field house is where we all] encourage everybody to do their best and talk about what we need to do to make the upcoming game better than the last,” Pitsenbarger said.

While riding the bus to away games, the team occasionally must ride with the varsity baseball team. However, when they’re alone, they find themselves blasting music instead of sitting in silence like they did in previous years. To junior outfielder Kiara Richardson, music helps the team have fun before becoming serious on the field.

“Sitting in silence [is worse than blasting music because it makes us become consumed in our thoughts] and we begin thinking about what could go wrong, [which leads to us making errors during the game],” Richardson said.

In preparation for the game, the team sits in the dugout while putting on their cleats as the coaches express their expectations and try to get the team hyped for the game. Senior captain and second baseman Cyniah Stuart has noticed dugout talks prior to warming up are where the team becomes serious about the game after goofing off during the bus ride on the way there.

“We [begin thinking] more on the game and that becomes our primary focus,” Stuart said. “We also [focus on what we] need to accomplish [in order to meet] our goals for that game.”

Away game traditions include team bonding meals and team pep talks led by senior captains pitcher Hannah Brown, outfielder senior Ines Lopez-Flores and Stuart. Each of these traditions began this year with Hill.

Since the team has suffered multiple losses this season, the bus rides back are quiet as the players and coaches reflect on the game. Despite the losses, the team sometimes enjoys team bonding events to minimize drama within the team.

“[Going out to eat for team bonding helps us] get to know each other better by talking about things that aren’t softball related,” Pitsenbarger said.

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