Although it may not look like it outside, spring season is upon us. That means Blue Streak softball is beginning once again.
With only three seniors on the roster, this team is young and hungry to prove itself in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Two weeks ago, during the team’s annual Spring Break trip, the ladies headed south to Florida to play a few games before conference play opens up. The trip seemed to be an eye-opener and reality check to say the least.
The team started out strong, opening with five straight wins to kickstart the southern swing.
Then the reality check came as they dropped the last five games, against some nationally ranked opponents, bringing their record to 5-5 in the Sunshine State.
Although they hoped to return to University Heights with a better record, the trip contained a few highlights. A game-winning three run homerun by senior Samantha Thompson against Oneonta State tops that list. The Cheektowaga, N.Y., native finished the trip with a .500 batting average to go along with her eight doubles and 15 RBIs.
“Hitting the game winning homer against Oneonta State was a great feeling as you can imagine. The whole at bat, I was just telling myself I needed to get a single and push one run over the plate to tie the game,” said Thompson.
Being one of the those three seniors on the team this year, Thompson understands what she needs to do to help this team win.
“As a senior on the team, I definitely do feel a lot of pressure to keep my play at the highest level at all times,” she said.
Standout play during the tournament was also turned in by junior Angela Vistocco. She finished the trip with a batting average of .367 and six RBIs.
When asked to sum up the trip, Vistocco was quick to point out how the time spent in Florida will benefit the team down the road.
“We learned a lot about ourselves after losing some games and it forces us to learn how to overcome some of those battles as we move into our OAC games,” she said.
The trip is not only to train their bodies and play a few games, but coach Erin Kinsbury also uses the journey as a way to come together as a team.
“Our trip is a lot about bonding,” Vistocco said. “We did this through having contests while traveling, team dinners, and spending time with everyone off the field.”
After a trip where a lot was learned and accomplished, the team is focused and ready to open the regular season and conference play.
“As a team our main goal is to win the OAC championship. JCU softball has never accomplished that and we believe this finally could be our year to hang a banner in our gym,” Vistocco said.
After returning home from Florida, the team was reacquainted to the Ohio weather and had both of their games scheduled for last week postponed due to weather. They’ll wait until March 24 to travel to Granville, Ohio to take on Denison University in a doubleheader.