Home at last
At this point in the season, members of the softball team didn’t expect to have quite as many cancellations as they do. They also didn’t expect that Tuesday would be their very first home game of the season. But, thanks to Mother Nature, that’s how things played out.
After having eight games canceled, head softball coach Brian Campbell said his team is excited to get back on the field.
Thursday’s doubleheader against Saint Francis University — in which Youngstown State University won both games — was the team’s first action since March 14, when the Penguins competed at the Rebel Games in Orlando, Fla.
“You can go through practice and you can continue to work hard, and we do, but you can’t simulate games, being off for three weeks,” Campbell said. The Penguins sit with a 7-14 overall record and are 2-3 in Horizon League play.
They’ve played just 21 games — the least amount in the entire league.
While YSU is in fifth place in league standings, a few players are experiencing individual success.
Samantha Snodgrass has the third-best batting average in the league (.387), and Casey Crozier has the third-best ERA average (.225). Infielder Kelly Stowe recorded an 11-game hitting streak and is batting .286 for the season.
Stowe said it’s been difficult dealing with the cancellations.
“We’ve been anxious to play all season,” she said. “Then, being canceled for two or three weeks after Florida, it was hard.”
Stowe added that the team has a new attitude going into conference play.
“There’s a total difference between the early tournament and conference games.
It’s a lot more intense and a lot more of the softball we like to play,” she said. “Seeing that real competition is bringing us all together. It’s just finally clicking.”
While the weather has increased the amount of time the Penguins have spent in the Watson and Tressel Training Site, it hasn’t changed Campbell’s expectations of or goals for his team.
“You have to adapt and control the controllables,” he said. “But we definitely are looking forward to being at home for a little while.”
The Penguins hosted a three-game series against the University of Detroit Mercy that began on Tuesday. On Saturday and Sunday, YSU has a three-game home set with Loyola University Chicago. In all, nine of their next 11 games are home contests.
Campbell praised his players on their toughness and ability to fight.
“With this team, it’s an attitude of [continuing] to work hard from the first pitch to the last pitch,” he said. “Just to improve.”
While Stowe said she understands that goal, she has higher expectations for the Penguins.
“We’re dead set on one goal: We want to make the tournament,” she said. “We’re all in it for one reason and one reason only, and we’ll do whatever it takes to get that win.”
Campbell prefers to take things one step at a time with the hope of reaching the end goal.
“We want to go in and play hard to compete for that particular game,” he said. “When you approach it game by game, it’s a lot easier.”