The Bobcat Softball team travelled to Florida just a few short weeks ago to kick off their season with 12 games against schools from all over the United States. They finished the trip with a 3-9 record, however there were some positives even though the results weren’t exactly what they hoped for.
In the win over Alverno, junior pitcher Kirsten Pelletier ‘20 tossed her second career no-hitter, while her teammates pounded out 11 hits to get the win in the seven-inning game. This performance is impressive enough as it is, but it looks even more legitimate when you find out that Alverno came into the game undefeated, winners of their first five games of the season. The Bobcat squad may have had some early struggles, but a win like this shows what they are really capable of this year.
Leadoff hitter Caroline Bass ‘21 paced the team with 14 hits through 12 games in just her second season at the collegiate level. Honestly, the Bates lineup has got some real potential this year, as evidenced by their numbers in Florida. Five of their top seven hitters are hitting over .300, and this bodes very well especially given that they were playing some very tough competition this year on their spring trip.
This competition is something that could end up really making a difference for them as we move later into the year. In fact, last year the softball team went on the very same trip to Florida but played a much different schedule and returned home sporting a 9-3 overall record. What made things different last year was that this 9-3 record did not end up translating into NESCAC play, and they finished with a 5-7 record in conference games.
Sure, everyone can agree that it’s a lot of fun to go 9-3, but it’s useless if they’re not going to prepare the team for the games that really count. The Bobcats are not going to be able to compete with the high level of talent that exists in the NESCAC if they are not able to schedule some of the very best opponents they can at the start of the year.
It’s fun to win, but there are ultimately only 12 games per year (conference games) that have any influence on the playoffs and those are the ones that count.
There’s no doubt that Coach Barnes and co. have a sour taste in their mouths after struggling a bit against a tough schedule in Florida, but they still have a very long way to go this season. If playing a tougher, early-season schedule is going to bring them more success down the road, then that’s what they should do.
Sports seasons are always a long haul. They often appear to be a roller coaster of emotions, providing a different attitude after every game. The Bobcats open up the NESCAC season with a visit to Tufts next weekend, where we may begin to find out exactly how much they’ve grown in Florida.
A 3-9 record is not ideal at this point in the season, but there’s a lot left to play and they have plenty of time to figure things out. You know what they say – all’s well that ends well.