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Pioneer softball team sets high goals for upcoming season

With+conference+preparations+in+full+swing%2C+the+Grinnell+softball+team+is+prepared+for+the+long+season+ahead.
With conference preparations in full swing, the Grinnell softball team is prepared for the long season ahead.
With conference preparations in full swing, the Grinnell softball team is prepared for the long season ahead.

By Papa Kojo Ampin-Darko
ampindar@grinnell.edu

Grinnell College’s softball team began their conference preparations last weekend. With a mix of experienced players and fresh faces, they are excited about the prospect of a new season.

Emily Jordan ‘19 is enthusiastic for the season ahead. “I feel really good. I think that the team is ready to get after it and have a really good season, make conference again and just generally build and improve on last season. I think [head coach] Lynn [Anderson] has prepared really well and I think the team in general has a pretty enthusiastic and hardworking attitude so I think we will do well,” she said.

As a team captain, Jordan said she has the power to be a major influence on the team. “I just want to lead by example and make sure that I’m a consistent presence on the field and so that I can support and encourage my teammates in however they need me as well.”

The Pioneers started their season last weekend with two tough games against highly ranked opposition, including University of St. Thomas, who are ranked seventh nationally. “I think the logic behind it is, basically, playing hard teams is going to make us … just more aggressive, and more heads up on the field … so when we do play conference games we’re already like at the level we need to be and … above the level that we need to be. So, yeah, I just wanted to get out, start strong, it felt really good … I think we played really well,” Jordan said.

Maddie Matsubara ‘22 also said it’s important for the team to test themselves against tough opposition. “We played some really good teams and I think we did the best that we can do at this point, I think that we can only go up from there so should get better.”

As a first year, Matsubara has already been pleased with the team dynamics at the College. “The softball team is super welcoming, super nice. They always make you feel included, just a wonderful team to be a part of.”

This has contributed to her drive to have a great debut season. “I think we’re all pretty passionate about the sport, we want to represent Grinnell, the best we can,” said Matsubara. “So we all care enough to put in the effort so I think … our commitment or shared interests and shared goals for the team really bonds us together.”

Jordan, as a senior, is feeling mixed emotions about the upcoming season. “Being a senior, in general, is a little bit bittersweet because it’s the end of my softball career but also it’s really exciting, because when we came in, freshman year of the program, we still did really well but it was just completely different. So, I think that all the seniors especially are eager to see how the season goes, to perform to the best of our abilities, really enjoy the season, and make the most out of it.”

For the season ahead, both Matsubara and Jordan have set their sights on a number of goals. “Get at least one hit a game,” said Matsubara. Jordan added, “I would be remiss not to mention that like we have a big goal to beat Cornell. That’s our team’s big rival. It’s going to be here [at Grinnell] on April 16, everyone should come see it.”

The Pioneers continue their season next Saturday, March 9 at Westminster College.

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