King’s Court: Picking Up The Slack
With the SLIAC season set to begin on March 31, the Webster University softball team is off and running. With the conference season looming, first-year students have helped the Gorloks get off to a good start.
At this point last season, the Gorloks were 7-7. The team went on to finish the season 24-13, but lost its leaders on the pitching staff and on offense to graduation.
Last season, senior Megan Sperry started 15 games and went 10-3 with a 2.41 earned run average. She also pitched four complete game shutouts, half of the team’s total. Senior Samantha Dittmann batted .343 last season while belting a team-high 10 home runs and also getting a team-high 46 runs batted in.
This season, thanks in part to first-year student athletes, the softball team is 10-8.
So far, freshman Trisha Thompson is leading the pitching staff with a 3.10 ERA and a 4-1 record. She has pitched Webster’s only shutout and has four complete games in five starts.
On offense, transfer student Hanna Brindisi, a junior, leads the Gorloks with three home runs. With 17 RBI, she is also the only player to have double-digit RBI at this point in the season.
Usually there is a transition time for freshmen and transfer students when they go to a new school, but it seems the first-year players on the softball team have easily acclimated to their new team.
It’s great to see that Brindisi and Thompson are taking over where last year’s seniors left off. But on the other hand, the entire team needs to contribute.
Yes, the softball team won the SLIAC regular season title last year. Yes, Sperry and Dittmann were very important to this success. But it was a team effort that won the SLIAC championship. The entire pitching staff had a 2.79 ERA, eight shutouts and struck out 114 more batters than it walked. Although Sperry was an important factor, the support behind her is what made a winning team.
The same thing goes for the offense. Dittmann had a great offensive season, but the entire team had a .318 batting average. Six Gorloks batted at least .300 and three batted .400. Seven players had at least 10 RBI and four had at least 20.
Brindisi and Thompson are getting the necessary help from their teammates so far this season. Junior Chelsea Schaffer is batting .452 and leads the team in runs scored. The team is also getting the balanced help that it needs to be successful. Four Gorloks are tied for second in RBI with eight and seven players have at least five RBI.
This year’s team is much like last year’s. There are a few players off to a hot start, but they are also getting a lot of help from their teammates.
In the end, there is one thing that separates the great teams from the OK teams. Most teams have at least one or two top-flight players, but the great teams get production from several players. They still have some top players, but the team is deeper and everyone is important in the game plan.
If the Gorloks can continue to get the same amount of help from the entire team like last year, they could be ready for another successful season.