ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
Whittier College Softball kicked off their season on Feb. 16 with a doubleheader against Pomona-Pitzer. The Poets are looking to have similar success to last season, as they ended in the number two spot in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), just behind the rival La Verne Leopards. The Poets ended up losing in the playoffs, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps won the tournament that year. The success of Whittier was even more impressive, since it was Coach Trisha Senyo’s first year of coaching.
The Poet’s first game was against the visiting Pacific Lutheran Lutes in a non-conference game, in an exciting matchup, as both teams put up a total of 26 runs. The Poets lost the game 14 – 12. The next game between the two teams ended up being canceled due to unusual weather in California, which had been a problem for quite some time; if you ever have played softball or baseball you know rain and a dirt field don’t mix well together. Third-year pitcher Sam Casanas explained, “It’s been kind of a kicker for sure, just because our first games that we’ve played against Pacific Lutheran. We didn’t even get two games in because the rain was brutal and we had to fix our field. And it was kind of discouraging to not get those two games in, but we’re happy that the sun’s out and it’s softball weather again.”
After the one non-conference game that the Poets were able to play, they moved on to SCIAC conference games, where their first series was against Pomona-Pitzer. The Poets lost both games the first 7 – 1 and the second game 2 – 0. The Poets may be losing games, but two of the first three were close, as they could have rallied back to win the game. It wasn’t until this past weekend that they were able to find their winning way. As Whittier played their second SCIAC series against Chapman University where the Poets swept them in two games. The Poets won the first game 5 – 6, with third-year Sam Casanas starting as pitcher as she went 3.1 innings. She explained how it felt playing once again, “I was really happy to be out there. I love pitching, and I love being in (the game) because pitching is very involved. Every single pitch, I’m a part of it. It was exciting, it was an adrenaline rush, and it’s fun to be out there with my team.”
The team’s chemistry seems to be great. First-year Brianna MaGee said that after the first game against Pomona-Pitzer there were some last-minute game changers for the team, “it proved to us as a team that if we work together and believe in each other, we can come through anything. So, in the last inning of our second game, we had a walk-off, and that just really proved to us that if we believe in each other then we can feed off of our energy and pull through,”she said.
As for chemistry between first-years and returning players, understanding between the two different age groups seem to be mixing pretty well. MaGee said the returners are “helpful, and if we have any questions, we can always go to them; they made us feel very welcome, they have very open arms.”
Third-year Casanas talked about her leadership role as an experienced player, “I’ve definitely stepped into a leadership role this year and it’s been a positive experience. There are a few leaders on the team and we all have different leadership styles, but I feel that all our styles contribute something positive to the team in a different way, and we set a good example for the younger years.”
Whittier’s next series is another conference battle away to the Redland Bulldogs as they play two games against them on March 2. As for their next homestand, they will be playing against the Hiram College Terriers, who will be visiting from Ohio, for two games. Game times are at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on March 3.