By Jeana Teddick
This article was originally published in Issue 11, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (March 24, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.
Kicking off their season in Puerto Rico for spring training, the DeSales’ softball team got the chance to put their skills to the test.
“You can scrimmage and practice all you want, but until you play a real game, that’s when you really know,” assistant coach Samantha Bader said. “We saw where we succeeded as a team and we saw where we needed to improve.”
Having played five games while in Puerto Rico, the softball team finished with a 2-3 record.
“Our record wasn’t great but we played well and went in knowing what we were up against and just played our best,” Bader said.
“I’m extremely excited to see what this season is going to bring for us,” junior captain Lyndsay Dotzman added. “We have continuously displayed a very hard-working and positive team dynamic and are ready to go out and accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves.”
The team is not resting on its laurels by any means but their confidence is definitely there, especially in their offense.
“We definitely have excellent offense. I could not be happier with the amount of strong hitters we have,” Bader said.
Chuckling, Bader added that after winning the conference championship last season, “It seems that everyone is out to get us now, especially our top rival Misericordia.” The team will face off with other rivals within their respective conference this season, including Eastern University and King’s College.
Despite having lost some key seniors last year such as Carly Bartholemew, Rachel Vogel, Kayla Adanalian and Michelle Gessner, Bader said, “We have excellent returners and our freshmen class has integrated themselves more into the team dynamic this year than in past years…the talent is the strongest I’ve seen it.”
For softball, team unity is 100 percent present. The girls play extremely well together and Bader said, “The fact that they have team bonding activities such as team dinners and off-the-field activities definitely contributes to this impactful team dynamic.”
This necessary component of a strong team dynamic is stressed on and off the field.
“It’s an amazing experience to get to work with the team and alongside the other senior captains and get the chance to learn as much as I can from them throughout the season,” Dotzman said.
While on their spring break trip to Puerto Rico, senior Samantha Gibson organized a service project with a local low-income township where the team donated equipment such as bats and bags to seven-year-old kids on the town’s baseball team.
The girls ran the town locals through one of their typical practices as well.
“Sam was a great communicator and it was super cool to see this all workout. The local families were grateful to have us there and even came out to support us during one of our games while we were there,” Bader said.
Back home now with full focus and visions set on a successful season, the team is practicing six days a week, with many girls incorporating additional skills and strength conditioning on their own. Bader also hits ground balls for fielding practice and works in the batting cages with the team whenever she can.
The girls are working hard to prepare themselves for the entire season, but Bader said, “We can only take it one game at a time and keep ourselves focused… That’s the key to success.
“We really would love the support from the DeSales community this season. Come on, guys, there’s a sidewalk there now!” she added, laughing.
The team’s next home game is a double-header on March 29 at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m against Montclair State University.
The rest of the team’s schedule can be found here.