Although the Raiders softball team has a number of strong offensive players, the players’ focus is on defense as an unified team effort.
Much of that defense was forged from experience, since nine out of the 14 players on the roster are returning players. This includes first team Western Region All-Star Lundon Young and second team Western All-Star Kierston Perry, both of whom are pitchers. The two returning starters from the left side of the infield, Ashley Bezdicek and Jorden Steele, also were first team Western Region All-Stars. Bezdick and Steele add experience to the team, particularly defensively.
“I think pitching and defense are a huge (for us,)” Young said. “We have a lot of good hitters (who) can adjust to a lot of different styles of pitching, so we are a pretty strong offensive team, but defense is something that takes more than one person. We all have to learn and adapt to how each other play.”
The Raiders currently have an 9-16 record and are tied for third place in the Western Region.
“I am looking forward to competing at the NWAACC (Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges) championship tournament,” Young said. “A lot of teams see us as an underdog, and that is our drive as a team to make an appearance at the NWAACC tournament and give teams a run for their money.”
Fellow pitcher Kierston Perry agrees that the focus should be on the NWAACC championships.
“My main goal for my team this season is to be the NWAACC West Division softball champions and also to be the NWAACC softball champions,” Perry said.
Perry has pitched a total of 79 innings, and she has recorded 15 starts with three of those completed. Her earned run average is 5.11, and she has contributed to the offense with a .345 batting average, the third highest on the team.
The offensive leader of the team is Sam Kimble, who possesses a .385 batting average and is the designated hitter.
The other starting pitcher, Young, has pitched a total of 71 innings, started 10 games and completed eight of those games. She holds an earned run average of 5.62.
“As far as pitching goes, there is always something that pitchers can be working on to develop their skills, whether that is introducing a new pitch or perfecting an older one,” Young said.
The Raiders’ next game is at 1 p.m. May 3 in Olympia when the team takes on South Puget Sound Community College. Additional information can be found online at www.pierce.ctc.edu/athletics/softball.
What are your long-term softball goals? Right now I’m just focusing on enjoying my time at Pierce.
What are you looking forward to most this season? This season I’m looking forward to all the memories I get to make with the girls. A lot of us are going off in different directions next year and right now we’re all looking forward to the NWACC tournament.
What motivates you as a player? As a pitcher there is a lot of pressure involved. You are involved in every play and the team really depends on you. I’m usually motivated by my team. When someone makes an amazing play it just makes me want to pitch better for the team.
Every player wants their team to win a championship. What are you trying to focus on individually to help your team succeed? To help my team succeed I’m focusing on improving my pitching and working with the other girls in order to be a championship team.
What do you want Pierce College students to know about you? I like Bigfoot.
What are your long-term softball goals? My long-term (softball) goal is to hopefully move on to a four-year university to continue pitching and playing softball.
What are you looking forward to most this season? This season I mostly looking forward to being able to show the other teams how much talent our team has.
What motivates you as a player? As a pitcher, my main motivation is my team. I feel that if I do my job to the best of my ability my team will be there to do the same.
Every player wants their team to win a championship. What are you trying to focus on individually to help your team succeed? Individually I am trying to focus on my confidence, not only on the mound or any other position that I might play, but also in the batter’s box. I have had a huge issue with not believing in myself, so I feel this is what I really need to focus on.
What do you want Pierce College students to know about you? I am originally from Maui, Hawaii. I moved here last here to continue my education and play softball. I also play first base and third base, besides being a pitcher.
What are your long-term softball goals? My long-term goals for (softball) are to transfer and play two more years at a four-year university and then eventually become a coach and help kids move on to play at the college level.
What are you looking forward to most this season? I am looking forward to really competing at the NWAACC championship tournament. A lot of teams see us as an underdog, and that is our drive as a team to make an appearance at the NWAACC tournament and give teams a run for their money.
What motivates you as a player? What motivates me as a pitcher is my team. I know that no matter what they are going to have my back, on defense and on offense. If I throw a bad pitch and the batter gets a base hit, I know that my defense will be giving 100 percent to make the play, and if not, they will give 110 percent on the next play.
Every player wants their team to win a championship. What are you trying to focus on individually to help your team succeed? Since we don’t have as many pitchers as other teams may have, I try to make that my main focus to help our team succeed. The main focuses of a pitcher are staying consistent around the strike zone, hitting your spots and keeping the batter off balance. I still make mistakes, but if I can minimize them I know that would be a huge help to our team’s success.
What do you want Pierce College students to know about you? I want Pierce College students to know that they should come out and support the team.
Our schedule is listed on the Pierce College website.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost