On March 30, 2012 the women’s softball team matched their win total from the entire 2011 season when they finished at 20-30.
The Wolverines sat last week at 20-11-1 in this young 2012 season. The team has experienced quite the turnaround from last year as they continue to work toward their first PCSC title. Making the season all the more impressive is how much the team has been able to overcome. They lost pitcher Megan Peay to injury. She has since returned, but they have had to fill a spot at third base. After trying a few different players at the hot corner, they finally settled on Stephanie Likos to play third.
So what has been the key to holding it all together this season?
“Pitching,” head coach Todd Fairbourne said. “That’s what it’s all been, pitching. Our pitchers have won us the games most of the time.”
Tiffany Mills, Cassie Herrera and Peay have formed a three-headed monster on the mound for the Wolverines. Mills has been lights out, posting a 2.02 ERA in the season as of April 4. Peay and Herrera are not far behind her. Neither of them have an ERA above 3.77.
The Wolverines have welcomed 13 newcomers to team up with the six girls who returned from last year’s roster: Amanda Perez, Amanda Robinson, Charlee Cisneros, Deianna Russell and Josi Summers.
Fairbourne has trusted the newcomers to play significant roles on the field. Of the top seven batting averages on the team, six belong to first-year Wolverines. Having so many people come in new to a program can often hurt a team in the loss column. A large reason for the success in acclimating the newcomers and bringing this team together are the girls who returned to the roster.
“I think the six returners that came back, we did a pretty good job of trying to welcome them in,” Robinson said. “We really tried to make them a part of our team since they’re going to be the new legacy following down when us returners leave.”
“There are a lot of good kids on the team,” Fairbourne said. “The continuity has basically been there in the dugout.”
The season hasn’t been all roses, however. As of April 4, 2012 the Wolverines had lost three straight and found themselves in a bit of a slump. It’s up to the team to pull it together and regain their early-season form as they are approaching the heart of their conference schedule. There are, in fact, flaws to having a young team.
“Kids have to step up and be accountable,” Fairbourne said. “It’s there, but I think that’s where the youthfulness is really coming into play. Some of these kids hit that lull of the difficult part right at the critical part of the season, right before league. They don’t know how to deal with it.”
In order to snap out of their funk, “the kids will have to fight,” Fairbourne said.