A lot of talk has surrounded the softball team and how it would react to bringing in a new coach in the 2014 season, but through hard work and a certain cohesiveness the team possesses, the team has managed to have a great start to its season.
“The team is like everyone’s second family,” said sophomore infielder Alexa Holztrager. “Our goal as a team was to improve and compete at the beginning of the season, and we have already done that this year.”
Holztrager also praised the freshmen on the team for their current success and with an 8-4-1 record no one would contest.
The team’s early success might be unexpected with a first-year head softball coach, but according to the new coach, Tenqque Martin, the success is no surprise.
“The team was zoned in from the first meeting we had,” Martin said. “The team has bought into the program and the goals they have set forth.”
Martin said the team has had a “focus forward” mindset.
After the turmoil from last season, which ended up in the resignation of Coach Whitney Hartman, the team is trying to look forward and not at the past.
Hartman left the team last season after failed relationships with the players, causing some players to quit. Through an email to the team on April 29th 2013, she explained that she was submitting her letter of resignation and she thanked the team for the “unforgettable experiences” she had.
“Coach Hartman didn’t give us the respect we deserved, and she treated us like babies,” said Holztrager.
“No one could see eye to eye,” said senior outfielder Katy Carr about last year’s team.
Younger players also had a few words to say about the situation last season.
“Coach Hartman seemed really nice, but after a rough season I didn’t know what to expect,” said freshman catcher Erin Perko.” This year has exceeded expectations, and I feel like the team is one cohesive unit.”
Martin has tried to build a certain culture with her players, and through their hard work in the offseason, they have improved strength and hand speed, leading to great hitting thus far.
“We have been patient at the plate,” Martin said. “Our hitting has won us some games this year.”
The softball season is just beginning, with the team’s first GLIAC game taking place Friday, March 21st against Grand Valley State.
“GLIAC softball is arguably the best in Division II,” Martin said.
However, with the team’s great sense of togetherness, Martin and her players will focus in on their goal to compete every time they take the field.
Neil Gingerich is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.