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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Softball off to rough start but still optimistic

Kayla Morrissey ’18 at practice this week. Photo by Jun Taek Lee

Every team in any sport has its dips throughout the season. The Grinnell softball team unfortunately saw their slump early on. The Pioneers opened the 2015 season in California during spring break with four tough games against tough competitors, which saw the team lose four consecutive games. 

Prior to the trip, the Pioneers were stuck in the middle of an Iowa winter, giving them very little time to practice. Their opponents from California, however, have been lucky enough to play in a state where there is seemingly always sun. Grinnell players witnessed firsthand the advantage their West Coast competitors had from the start.

“We didn’t come out on top, obviously,” said Kayla Morrissey ’18. “But I think we started off strong against some tougher teams in California because they get more practice with better weather all year around in the field.”

But that wasn’t a big enough excuse to compensate for the Pioneer’s four-game loss. In retrospect, the team attributes its losses to not only a lack of heart put into defense but also the buildup of minor mistakes within a single game.

“We always have one or two innings with a couple mistakes and it always comes back to hurt us,” Morrissey said. “I think with a lot of teams our skill level’s there but we don’t come up on top in the end and that’s just because of silly mistakes. We need put heart into our defense so when we put runs up we can back that up with good defense.”

Kayla Morrissey ’18 at practice this week.  Photo by Jun Taek Lee
Kayla Morrissey ’18 at practice this week.
Photo by Jun Taek Lee

After the California trip came to an end, the team traveled back home to the Midwest with full confidence that their performance in a more similar setting would result in a satisfying scoreboard. But the Pioneers’ games in Illinois against MacMurray College and Greenville College only added to their losing streak.

The Pioneers, however, exhibited one of their best performances of the season against Greenville College with certain key players who elevated the level of the play. Morrissey, who just debuted her career on the Grinnell softball team, tied the record for hits in a single game.

“Kayla has been incredibly consistent,” said head coach Amanda Reckamp. “The game against Greenville showed a little bit of everything she can do hitting in the fourth spot in the lineup. She just seemed really locked in and drove the ball hard in gaps. It was great to see her hit her first homerun of her career.  She hit for the cycle that day—hitting a triple the first game, home run, singles and a double the second game. She has a bright future on the diamond.”

Along with Morrissey were other players who sparked the intensity of the game with their stellar performances. With six Pioneers hitting over .300, Reckamp was excited to put her players in the spotlight.

“Sage Juveland ’17 has had a hot bat lately—is really hitting the ball hard,” Reckamp said. “Her two homeruns in the game against MacMurray was something you don’t see too often.  Melissa Anderson ’18 pitched great against Greenville.”

Yet despite the great effort from multiple players, the team ultimately walked away from the field with a gut-wrenching score of 8-9.

Looking ahead, the Pioneers are now facing six more games before heading into Conference play from the North Division. And both the players and the coach have set the bar high for the team. 

“We have pretty high expectations for the season,” Morrissey said. “Obviously improvement is [the biggest] expectation … because in the past we had not so successful seasons, but this season we want to do better. I think everyone has a positive attitude and we know we’re young, but also our experience level isn’t going to change … We’re going to really focus on things that we’ve been doing wrong in practice so that by the end of the season we can say, ‘Hey, we improved. We got some wins.’”

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