Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 21, 2017

Softball Team Celebrates Win

Softball team celebrates in a huddle. On Tuesday, the Spartans beat MIAA leaders, Hope College 4-3.

Softball Captain has High Hopes for Team  

Shelby Harrell

Before the final pitch of Thursday evening’s game, the Manchester University women’s softball team knew that they had secured a win that could signal the end of a long losing streak that has been plaguing them lately. 

Regarding their recent losses, team captain and pitcher Mallorie Jennings remarked that the team is currently going through a “rough patch” of sorts. “We are getting hits and even outhitting other teams, but we can’t seem to string out hits together to put up runs,” Jennings said. “However, we won our last two conference games so that should give us momentum for the upcoming games.” 

As a junior, Jennings has taken the time necessary to develop into a leadership role within her teammates. “Last season I was an underclassman and still trying to find my role on the team,” Jennings said. “This year has been an adjustment because I am now an upperclassman and I have found more of a leadership role on the team.” 
In addition to providing her with the opportunity to grow as a softball player, Jennings feels that being the team captain has taught her a great deal in the way of encouraging communication and support among teammates. “I think throughout the season our team has grown closer as a unit,” Jennings said. “We are very supportive of each other but also hold each other accountable.” 

Indeed, her desire to lead the team in their season-long quest for victory became apparent during fall 2015 when she took a class on team leadership. However, as is the case most of the time, the majority of her learning took place outside of the classroom. “Being a captain this year has taught me so much this year,” Jennings said, “so far as how to communicate with my teammates and support them while still being the leader they need.”
Their perhaps unfortunate beginning of their season is exhibited by the team’s currently low rankings among the member schools of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, with their current record being 8-8. “Currently we are ranked toward the bottom of the HCAC due to our rocky start in conference play,” Jennings remarked with a twinkle of hope in her eye and a voice filled with resolve. “However, with our bats coming alive, there is no reason why we will not move up in the rankings.” 

Indeed, things do seem to be looking up for the Spartans softball team. As the tides turn, the team is hopeful that they will continue to add to their set of wins as they travel to Hanover College to play this weekend. “Honestly, all the teams in our conference are very competitive with each other,” Jennings said, “but if we play to the level we are capable of, we can compete with any team.”
The women on the team are held in high regard, as they endure a detailed amount of physical and mental training each day before a game. From hitting balls that fly at them at extremely high speeds, to making the exchange between bases seem as quick and effortless as possible, to routinely performing a series of warm up drills that will enable them to build speed, strength, and efficiency, the Manchester University women’s softball team embodies the definition of patience and determination. In addition to a demanding regimen and physical preparation, the coaches also provide the athletes with methods of mentally and strategically preparation. “Our coaches do a great job of preparing us for our upcoming games,” Jennings said. “They provide us with scouting reports and we will do different drills at practice to show us what we will need to be ready for.” 

As the team captain, Jennings remains hopeful that the women’s season culminates in the winning of the HCAC tournament. “We will continue to work hard at practice to prepare for the games that we have left to play,” Jennings said.