By Will Brown
The Millsaps softball team is off to a strong start, having won 17 of their first 24 games of the season, including sweeping a weekend series with Sewanee. They won those three games by a combined score of 38-0.
After their series with Sewanee they played a tournament in Florida over Spring Break with games against Webster University and Ripon College. They won both games by a combined score of 12-0. They began conference play shortly after Spring Break, recently winning two of three games against Birmingham Southern.
“I think the team has gotten better, we are closer” senior pitcher Kayla Davidson said. According to Davidson, one of the ways the team has bonded is by making sure everyone is having fun playing together. “This year we have put a lot more emphasis on having fun and loving the game,” Davidson said.
Head Coach Erin Clary feels that the team thrives in that kind of environment. “We play best when we are having a good time, and as a coaching staff we try to provide that environment and incorporate it.” Clary said. “We feel like that if we provide it than it will only help us.”
Clary says that team’s goal is to win games while continuing to learn, even if that involves making mistakes. “We feel like that is how we are going to learn” Clary said. “If they make mistakes in practice, that is an opportunity and we can learn from it. We are either winning or learning.”
During the offseason, the team changed its workout routine and hired a strength and conditioning coach. Sophomore center fielder M.K. Bozeman said that these changes have provided more structure to their training.
“Having a strength and conditioning coach really helps” Bozeman said. “We have more structure to our workouts, not just during the season but also during the offseason.”
Unfortunately, the team has already been impacted by injuries. Two freshmen players got injured and will not be able to play for the team the rest of the season. Bozeman says that the injuries will eventually make the players stronger and make the team grow closer together. “I think that not being able to play this year make them stronger,” Bozeman said. “I think once they both get back to playing full time they will have a better appreciation for the sport and will really take advantage of every moment they have on the field.”
“I think that adversity will make us grow” Clary said. “Having this now will only help us down the road.”
The softball roster is filled with very experienced players. Out of the 15 players on the roster, eight of them are seniors. The rest of the roster is made up of three juniors, two sophomores, and two freshmen. Davidson said that the seniors on the roster are looking out for the rest of the team. “We want the freshmen through seniors to bond and feel like they are all the same” Davidson said.
Clary believes that the senior heavy roster has provided a culture of strong leadership due to their experience in big games. “It’s definitely good for our leadership” Clary said. “The seniors have already been to a conference tournament and they know what to expect. That experience is only helpful and since there are so many of them it gives the younger players a lot of people to learn from.”