By Kaie Quigley and Josh Wolmer – Features Editor and 1851 Contributor
After a long wait, the softball team didn’t waste time recording the best start in program history, with eight wins to begin the season before falling to Johnson & Wales University (JWU) in a set of doubleheaders. Since then, their overall record has returned to an average of 8-10, but the team matched their win total from their last full season played. Second-year head coach Sarah Woodside said she has seen the team improve in both attitude and skill since she stepped into her role with the program in 2020.
“I attribute that to players losing an entire season and having a desire to perform well on the field, which is something they were unable to do last year,” said Woodside. “Our players have been working hard in season and independently, even through last spring and summer in the height of the pandemic. That hard work is showing itself on the field and as a coach, it makes me proud to know that this game means as much to them as it does to me.”
Senior Co-Captain Bethany Hector agreed with her coach’s statement. “Going into the season we all really wanted to give it our all. After losing our season last year because of COVID-19, we all wanted to prove ourselves to the GNAC and Lasell,” Hector said.
“The upperclassmen are setting the bar in terms of building a cohesive team, hard work and dedication which has a trickle effect on the underclassmen,” said Woodside. Four captains have helped lead the Lasers through the year. Seniors Nicolette Genkos, Alexis Truesdale, Hector, and junior Brianna Gendreau, have all been impressive so far, setting examples for younger players. Gendreau is batting close to .400 and leading the offensive charge alongside some hard-hitting first-years.
First-years Ally Kirck and Katie Hopkins are two of the 11 underclassmen suiting up for their first season. Both are batting in the high .300s for the season and were recognized by the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) in the month of April. Kirk and Hopkins were each named “Rookie of the Week,” and Hopkins was named a “Co-Player of the Week” after hitting two solo home runs in a game versus JWU. “Seeing the underclassmen grow has been great, but at this point, it’s more of an expectation. Everyone, including the underclassmen, have to give their all on the field, no matter what,” Hector said.
Hector says the team has adopted certain mottos to help motivate and focus the team on their goals ahead. “Our time” and “all in” are two of these mottos. “We want to show everyone that it is our time to take the GNAC by storm and the only way to do that is if we’re all in, all the time,” she said.
The team also takes the mentality of “everybody eats” which, according to Hector, creates an understanding that the team comes before the individual. “[For example] that gap shot to left-center wasn’t just for you and your batting average, it’s what leads the whole team to win the game,” she said.
Hector said while the pandemic has hindered the team’s ability to bond off the field as they have in years prior, they still come together as a unit come game time. “Once we step out onto the field, we’re no longer individuals – we’re family,” she said.