Spartan Softball Kicks Off Season with a Win

Alex Baker

The softball program started their season in winning fashion. The Spartans traveled to Hope College, where they were victorious 10-9. Junior exercise science major and team captain Alexis Mokos, is excited for the season after defeating hope. “We won and battled throughout the whole game even when we were down,” Mokos said. “Our energy stayed up the whole time, and we never gave up when we down or made errors. This was a team effort, and everyone played a key role in this win”. Mokos noted that these are the types of games that can make or break a season, so she was satisfied with her team’s performance.

Looking back on the preseason, the Spartans trained hard in the new gym. They have had morning workouts and they were followed up by a practice later in the day. “Everyone has been working hard every day and having fun while doing it,” Mokos Said. We are also trying to make the best out of the weather. The team is starting to get antsy to get out outside and start playing.” With the weather, Mokos is ecstatic about having the opportunity to play in Florida. “We are just really excited to get down to Florida and start bonding more as a team in the warmer weather.”

During preseason Head Coach Josh Dzurick has been impressed with how his younger players have been learning. “We have lots of youth, there is only one senior, so it has been fun watching them learn and buy into the hard work needed to be successful,” Dzurick said. This is his 6th season as Head Coach and his 10th season in the program. Dzurick wants to credit Assistant Coach Sara Emerich for preparing the players for what is to come during regular season training. “Coach Emerich has brought an intense focus to our practices,” Dzurick said. Coach Emerich is entering her 5th year with Manchester’s softball program.

With the season starting up, Mokos has set goals for her and her teammates. “Starting individually, a goal that I have set for myself to is always giving it my all every day to the team,” Mokos said. “As a captain, I have to set the standard for my teammates.” Page Magner, junior exercise science major, aims to be the best player she can become. “Goals that I have set for myself is to build confidence and to play without fear,” Magner said. “From a leadership standpoint, although I may not be captain, I still want to be the best role model I can be for our younger players.”

As for the team, she sees tremendous potential within the squad that thinks can carry them towards a prolific season. “Our team is very young, but we have a lot of talent,” Mokos said. “If we can stick together through the highs and lows of the season, I think we can accomplish all our goals that set out to achieve.”

Making the conference tournament will always be the main focus for the team, but Coach Dzurick has challenged the team to improve their mental toughness. “We want and need to improve our mental game as the year goes on, it will only benefit us,” Mokos said. The team have received articles regarding mental toughness and the qualities of being an athlete. “I hope our confidence builds from these resources,” Magner said. “Coach gave us these for a reason, so it is up to us to utilize them.”

Coach Dzurick is looking to see how his players progress throughout the season. “I am looking forward to the development of our players,” Dzurick said. “We graduated four starters from last season, so I am excited to see who emerges from the competition for playing time.” Competition within the squad will only make players better, and Coach Dzurick is thankful for his talented group.

Mokos believes that this team is already connecting well, and that is what differentiates this team when comparing to previous teams. “Even with our very young team, I think the team chemistry is a bit stronger than last year,” Mokos said. Magner is impressed with how well the first-years are doing, and she is enjoying their energy so far. “We have younger players playing major positions, and I am confident that they will successfully fill in those shoes,” Magner said.

The softball program will be enjoying their spring break in Florida, where they will be playing 12 games.