Fifteen girls scatter around a vast, green field. They’re constantly moving, changing positions, yet they are bound together by an invisible bond.
“Every practice is bonding,” softball co-captain sophomore Camille Creighton said.
The softball season has been characterized by team spirit, hard work and a mid-season turnaround in game success, softball coach Jen Deering said.
The team began pre-season conditioning in the late fall. When the season started in early February, six girls dropped out because they were not ready for the commitment. Therefore, the remaining 15 players could only form one team, Creighton said.
“A lot of girls quit this year because they weren’t ready for the commitment,” Creighton said. “Other schools have three teams, but we only have one.”
Practices are every day of the week from 3:30-6 p.m. The team plays roughly two games per week, and some on the weekends, freshman Becky Isaac said.
The start of the game season was not favorable to the team. Right out of the gate, the team suffered a six-game losing streak, Creighton said.
“Our coaches told us ‘If you want to do this, do it right, and if you don’t want to do it we can end the season here,’” Creighton said.
At that point, Creighton said that people on the team finally realized that in order to succeed they would really have to commit.
“The last couple weeks [the team has] done a lot better, the cheering is louder,” Deering said. “We turned a corner at the perfect time.”
The product of this new mindset is evident for the team has been undefeated in their league, Creighton said.
Deering said that this success gave the team more purpose and unified the girls in their goals. She also said that it has made them more confident in their game.
“I think they should be aggressive; they should be strong. I really value that part of the female athlete game,” Deering said. “I think that they have come around to that, even if it wasn’t comfortable at first.”
The team has played about 30 games, and has 10 more left to play in their season, Creighton said. Many of the remaining games are make-up games for ones that got rained out earlier in the season. NCS begins in two weeks.
“Last year was the first year Piedmont softball had made it to NCS so this year we’re expecting to go further and win league,” Creighton said. “Just to win more.”
The long season and the commitment is made bearable by the close-knit team bond that has developed, Isaac said.
“Everyone gets along really well,” Isaac said. “Because it’s a small team everyone is really close.”
Creighton said that she hopes the team will be more ready for the commitment next year and will put more effort and energy into the sport.
“I’m hoping that the team [next year] can start the season as strong as we were halfway through this season,” Creighton said. “I want to come out winning.”