After ending their 2016 season with 19 wins out of 33 games, expectations for the Seattle University Softball team this year remain high despite a rough start with only 2 wins out of 10 games.
“We ended really strong last year, and I thought it would carry over, but we’ve kind of had a slow start because of the weather that we’ve had, not getting outside enough, not being together as much. So we’re learning on the fly a little bit,” said Head Coach Geoff Hirai. “We’re getting better and better every weekend. The expectation remains to be start strong, but if we don’t then we have to end strong.”
As for players to look out for this season, Coach Hirai recognized a few veteran players, as well as some newcomers.
“Paige Bouska is probably our most consistent hitter, and then the consistency in the infield with Maddy Kristjanson, and Kaylee Ree at second base,” Hirai said.
He noted that players Madison Cathcart, Alyssa Reuble and Andie Larkins will be the consistent pitchers this season. Senior Lyndsay Davis will also be of help, coming back this year after an injury.
In addition to the weather, the team has had a few challenges.
“One of our third baseman just had an ACL tear, and we had a freshman have an ACL tear that was my first recruit. But she’ll be back for the next four years, so that’s always a positive thing,” Hirai said. “We lost a couple players, but we added great athletes, so we didn’t lose a step there. It’s just a matter of getting the cohesiveness with the team and with the new staff that we have, and just get to know each other more.”
The biggest challenge has emerged for student athletes balancing school and sports. Hirai mentioned some girls have had to miss practices to make time for their school work and classes.
“We don’t have everyone for practice sometimes, so it’s hard to have a cohesive team together when you don’t practice all together all the time. It’s just now getting on the field and playing more and more,” Hirai said.
Despite setbacks, Coach Hirai is still optimistic about the rest of the season.
“They’re starting to understand what the culture is and how we do things here. It’s a learning curve, it takes a little bit of time to understand that and fully commit to it,” Hirai said.
The team heads to Stockton next week where they’ll play California State University in Northridge, Pacific University, and Sacramento State University.
“There should be some very competitive teams there, and if we stay committed, I think we can have a really good weekend,” Hirai said.
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