This was not a season with expectations of playoffs for the P-P Softball team (9-23, 6-14 SCIAC). With a batting average of .257, an on-base percentage of .325 and a slugging percentage of .332, the offense just hasn’t been consistent enough to win games. But that isn’t to say it is a lost season for the Sagehens. Rather, it has been a transition.
When two-thirds of a team’s players are underclassmen, there is a period of natural transition that occurs. During this time, there will be both growing pains and long learning curves. This was evident during the Sagehens’ most recent doubleheader against rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (23-6-1, 16-2 SCIAC) on Saturday, Apr. 16. While the Sagehens had runners in scoring position, they were not able to capitalize, dropping both games 5-0 and 3-0. Catcher Baleigh McCuskey PO ’19 acknowledged that the team had struggled, but noted that the team’s defense has especially improved, and that working on doing the little things right will go a long way toward winning games in the future.
“In terms of offense, there is still a lot more we can do to make sure we get more runners across the plate,” McCuskey said. “We have been performing extremely well on defense, but there are some small things that we are working on that will definitely give us a one up on the other teams.”
Infielder Paige Oliver PO ’16 agreed with McCuskey and is also impressed with the improvements the team has made.
“We've struggled with hitting consistently,” she said. “But, in terms of program growth, this has been an outstanding season! The team meshes really well, and we have a lot of underclassmen power.”
This includes Pitcher Bianca Cockrell PO ‘17, who has done well on both the mound and the plate.
“Bianca Cockrell has really been a superstar underdog,” Oliver said. “She's a junior and hadn't hit in her previous two years. This year, though, she's a top hitter in the SCIAC.”
Strong hitting from Cockrell, along with outfielder Kelsey Buchanan PO ’18 and first baseman and pitcher Liz Rodarte PZ ’19, give P-P a strong lineup of underclassman hitters for both the remainder of the season and for future Sagehen seasons.
The P-P softball team next takes the field this weekend, Friday, Apr. 22, with a doubleheader against California Lutheran University (13-18, 7-13 SCIAC) with games at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., followed by another doubleheader on Saturday, Apr. 23, against Chapman University (11-17, 5-13 SCIAC) at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.
McCuskey is confident they can pull off the wins. “I think we will do really well against Cal Lutheran and Chapman,” she said. “We swept Cal Lu last time we played them, and I think we can definitely do that again. We split with Chapman last time, but I think if we really attack early, we will be able to take both games from them.”
Win, lose, or draw, Oliver is hoping to enjoy the last few games of her career as a Sagehen.
“I'm just trying to play the best softball that I can while I still have the opportunity,” she said. “That sounds so cliché, but it's the truth. After this, I'm going to have to play beer league with co-workers, so I have to enjoy the little time I have left to play the sport I love in all its glory.”