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The Scarlet & Black

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Softball returns coach for first time since ’08

The Grinnell Softball team has lofty goals for the upcoming season after last year’s 0-33 losing season. With three pitchers, seven returning players, and three talented first year additions to the team, the numbers seem to be in their favor, despite the recent losses in the first two games of the season this Sunday at Westminster College.

Jennifer Fulton ’15 winds up for a pitch during practice on Tuesday. Photograph by Joey Brown

“We knew it would be a tough battle,” said Coach Amanda Reckamp, who played and coached at Westminster before coming to Grinnell last year. “We came in with the expectations of trying to steal one away from them.”

Although the Pioneers didn’t take any wins away from this weekend’s games, they did take away a renewed confidence in the skills they’ve been working on in practice and during the off-season.

“[It was] a great leap forward from last year,” Aniela Wendt ’14 said. “We’re doing a lot better so far, it looks good.”

Coach Reckamp agrees.

“Defensively we are in a much better place than we were last year,” she said.

The team is working hard to accomplish the goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the season.  Some of the overall goals include achieving a .500 record, limiting the number of strike-outs to three per game and limiting the number of errors to three per game.

Although the team lost 7-0 and 9-1 in their two games against Westminster, they were able to reduce the number of errors from six in the first game to one in the second, meeting one of their goals for the season.

“We saw huge progression from first pitch to the last inning of the first two games,” Christina Colver ’13 said.

Off-season training has been important for the team, especially because this is the first season since 2008 that the Pioneers have a returning coach.

“The seniors last year, I was their fifth coach in four years,” Reckamp said.

“We were able to get so much more done in the off-season,” Jayme Wiebold ’12 said.

The off-season training regimen included the usual weight-lifting program, but Reckamp emphasized skill-building exercises as well. She encouraged students to practice batting and catching as much as possible.

Grace Ryan ’14 took the advice to heart and came back to the team stronger and with refined skills.

“She was the only player this past weekend that didn’t strike out,” Reckamp said, “It’s good to see that somebody that did put the work in. It’s paying off and will continue to pay off.”

Ryan played catcher for both games at Westminster last weekend.

Ryan, Wendt, Colver, and Wiebold are four of the seven returning players. The team has also gained three first year team members who fill several necessary positions. Now, the Pioneers have three pitchers instead of one and the new players demonstrate the ability to play multiple roles on the team.

“I have a talented group of freshmen who came in this year, two of which could pitch, both of whom could play multiple positions,” Reckamp said.

With only 10 players, many team members are learning new positions.

“One of our biggest strengths is our versatility,” Summer Wilke ’15 said. “Anybody, if asked to take a certain position, stands up and just goes with it.”

As the weather grows warmer, the team looks forward to outdoor practices and the chance to prove themselves again. Their next game is two weeks away on March 19, but the team knows what to do to prepare.

“Just keep doin’ what we’re doin,” said Reckamp.

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