Despite a number of injuries and early season losses, the William Jewell College softball team is determined to finish its season with a strong performance. With a current record of 19-21, head coach Dustin Combs believes that improvement is achievable based on the team’s preparedness and cohesion. The women’s performance over the next few weekends will determine their eligibility for the conference tournament.
“This team came into the season more prepared physically and mentally than any other team we’ve had in the past 10 years. However, we have really struggled putting teams away,” Combs said.
In addition to losing by runs quite a few times, injuries have made victories hard to come by for Jewell’s softball players. Three players’ seasons have come to an early end due to injury. There are other women who are still able to play but must do so through serious pain.
Combs does not see any decrease in effort or enthusiasm as a result of injuries or losses. Instead, he has noticed a surge in cooperative atmosphere, with players being more supportive of each other as the team has faced adversity.
“This season, we have seen players step up in various situations due to the injuries to fill the void. I believe our chemistry is a valuable part of this team’s season. It is what has kept them believing in each other and that the season can still be a success,” Combs said.
Morgan Olson, senior psychology and ACT-In major, shares Combs’ optimistic attitude toward the remainder of the season. She is particularly happy with the way others have stepped in to make up for losses to injuries without hesitation. For her, this contributes to the cohesion of the team as a whole.
“Every single person, no matter whether they are a senior or a freshman, contributes to the success of our team. That is undeniable,” Olson said.
Olson knows that she and her teammates need to keep pushing in order to secure a spot in the tournament. She notes that, though there have been some seemingly unnecessary losses, there have also been great, game-winning hits this season.
“Our biggest challenge now is to keep that fire going and play at our level for the remainder of the season,” Olson said.
This past weekend saw two wins and two losses for the Cardinals against Quincy University and Truman State University, respectively, both Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) teams. Most of their upcoming games are also against GLVC teams, meaning there is increased pressure of making it into the conference tournament.
Overall, Jewell’s softball players and coach seem most focused on the team’s enthusiastic and hard-working attitude, as well as the women’s cohesive and upbeat atmosphere, as the path to success.
“Just being around the team—it’s a fun dynamic. They’re always funny and outgoing, and I think just being able to play two more years will be a lot of fun,” said Madison Giles, sophomore business administration, accounting and ACT-In major.
The team’s next games will be held Saturday, April 16 at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin—Parkside. The next home games will be Saturday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. against McKendree University.