Alex Heldrich, Reporter
Batter up! The Pierce College Raiders Softball season is up and running. Their season began at the end of February when they played their first game, which they lost 0-2 against Columbia Basin. The season will continue until May 20, which is when the Northwest Athletic Conference Championship will be held.
Although games begin in late winter, the softball players have been training since the early fall.
“We have a six-week fall session, followed by a six week period of weights and conditioning, which takes the players right up to winter break,” Head Coach Mark Edmonston said. “When the players return for the beginning of the winter quarter, they have two more weeks of weights and conditioning. Then, in the third week of January, the official season begins.”
Once the season starts, the team has 25 game dates, most of which are double headers. Since their first game, the team has won 11 of the 26 games played.
“We look good,” Edmonston said. “And when we get everyone healthy, we will look even better.”
Fourteen players are on the team this season, eight of them returning from the previous season. The six freshman players are Kailie Alama, Emily Bishop, Bailee Bradley, Jessilyn Enlow, Sierra Halsey and Jordan Roberts.
Bishop is a recent Tahoma High School graduate. During her senior year of high school, she had the third highest batting average in the league at .632 while having only four strikeouts out of 94 at bat, according to the her freshman biography on the Pierce College Athletics page. As a Raider, she plays first base.
“There’s a lot more intensity in college level sports than high school,” Bishop said. “Whether it’s at practice, in the weight-room or in a game, the overall intensity and focus is greater than it was in high school. One challenge between high school and college level sports is how much more we practice and play games. In high school, the season was only a few months, while in college it is all year.”
Being on a team with the intensity of college level sports means that teammates have to support each other.
“The team has great chemistry and it really shows on the field,” Bishop said. “I’ve been on teams where people don’t like each other, and this team isn’t like that. Since we spend so much time together, we have gotten to know each other a lot more and it creates a better team.”
Edmonston says that his goal for his team is to recapture the western region crown. He also wants to establish a new school record for the number of wins this season.
Bishop says that her goal is to see the team improve throughout the season.
“I’m proud of how even when it gets hard, we still push ourselves and each other,” Bishop said. “Having a lot of practices and games can get tough, but I’m proud of how this team has continued to push themselves to get better.”
The team will continue to push through their last 12 games of the season and possibly attend the NWAC Championships.
“My favorite part of coaching is helping the players get better, (and) also helping them move on to the next phase of life, whether it be finding the right college after Pierce or moving into their respective careers,” Edmonston said. “And winning… winning isn’t bad either.”
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