Sagehens hope to improve on last year’s second-place finish

A woman runs toward the camera while catching a softball as other softball players watch from the field and dugout.
Michelle Calcany Blair PZ ’21 makes an over-the-shoulder catch in deep center field against CMS March 2, 2019. (Amy Best • The Student Life)

The Sagehens are hoping to leverage new coaching strategies and technology to propel them to a first-place finish in the SCIAC, after they took second last season.

According to seasoned Pomona-Pitzer head coach JoAnne Ferguson, the Hens are off to a great start.

“We set a very strong tone offensively, scoring a ton of runs in the first weekend of play,” she said. “I anticipate our offense to be explosive, our defense to be rock solid and our pitching staff to be very strong this season.”

P-P opened the season well with an 8-4 win over Puget Sound in their season opener on Feb. 7. The following day, they split a double-header against Whitworth. 

Karina Falkstrom PZ ’21, who is hitting .375 in the young season, agreed that the team began the season on the right track.

“I was really happy to see everyone getting super hyped throughout the four games,” she said. “You can tell everyone has a lot of passion for playing and enjoys the competition.”

This year, the Sagehens are incorporating some new programs and technology into their practice regimen, including sports life coaching and a Rapsodo batting analysis device. 

“We’ll usually do workshops about once a week to reflect on how things are going and sort of have a reality check,” Falkstrom said on the life coaching. “It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that athletics is everything.”

Ferguson believes sports life coaching will “[help] the student-athletes develop life skills and tools to balance their lives and be their best selves throughout the ups and downs of a season.”

The Hens anticipate a very competitive season, particularly within the SCIAC. Last year, Whittier caught fire and won the conference tournament, despite finishing fourth in the regular season — an illustration of the volatile and unpredictable nature of SCIAC softball.

“There’s never one clear standout from our league, which makes it an interesting season,” Falkstrom said. 

P-P will count on its three seniors, Isabella Deatherage PO ’20, Olivia Campion PZ ’20 and Alondra Reynoso PZ ’20 as reliable players and dedicated leaders for the Hens, according to Ferguson and Falkstrom.

“They’ve reshaped the entire program and left a solid foundation for us,” Falkstrom said. 

However, according to Makensey Druckman PZ ’21, leadership on the team does not stem exclusively from the captains.

“Everyone on the team plays a significant role in achieving success, and different people show leadership in their own ways,” she said.

If the Sagehens do win a conference title this year, it would be an unprecedented victory — P-P has never won the championship in the 33-year history of SCIAC softball.

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