The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Softball team tries to overcome new challenges

After weathering a rough lineup of pre-conference games, the Grinnell College softball team is preparing to sail on to the smoother seas of conference play.

Over spring break, the Pioneers faced a grueling schedule of eight games in the Sun West Tournament at Chapman University in California. The team ended the trip with a 2-6 record, finishing on a two-win upswing with a 14-5 win against La Sierra University and a 3-1 win against Hamilton College.

“The week went well. Our record doesn’t show it, but we played a lot of really tough teams,” said pitcher and infielder Tess Cohen ’09.

In addition to cutting their teeth in tricky tournament play, the Pioneers were resolving issues of their own. “There were a lot of things that we kind of worked out over break. We have a new coach and we have a fairly young team with only two seniors,” said infielder Kelsey Montgomery, ’11.

Head Coach Sandra Faulkner is new to the team this season, having previously coached at Grinnell Community High School.

“Things are really going well with our new coach,” Cohen said. “She pushed us early on and demanded we play up to her expectations despite not playing outside. Then she helped us meet her expectations.”

Montgomery expressed a similar sentiment about the new coach.

“It’s very encouraging that she’s set a really high standard for us, but a standard that we know we can achieve. It will just take some work to get there,” Montgomery said.

Last Saturday, the team won 4-3 against Augustana College, a team that had already won 14 games. “This is encouraging for conference and nonconference play in the region,” Montgomery said.

Recently, the packed schedule has pitted Grinnell against some of the toughest teams in the Iowa Conference, including Luther College, ranked 17th nationally among NCAA Division III schools.

Challenging competition has not been the only hurdle the team has come up against. “We’re playing through some adversity—one of our starters [Darcy Ward ’09] just got hurt,” Montgomery said.

The small team has been forced to adapt to new positions before conference play commences this Friday with the game against Knox College.

“We’re just trying to focus on getting into some kind of a groove for the rest of the season,” Montgomery said.

This Thursday was the last non-conference game, versus Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. The team had a close first game, barely losing 9-10.
“We played really well, although we had one bad inning mentally,” Cohen said.

The biggest highlight of the game was a tie that came down to an unusual softball rule. When teams are tied at the end of the seventh and final inning, the game goes into overtime, but starts the eighth inning with a runner on second base. “It’s much more fun to play when you win, but the international tiebreaker is always a fun play because the game basically comes down to one hit,” Cohen said.

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