|Arielle Link, a second year Graphic Design major, waits for a practice pitch on Feb. 17, 2011.
RIT’s softball team ended last year with a respectable, but far from ideal, record of 17-19. Moving into her second season as head coach at RIT, Rebecca Stryker has high hopes for the team. A 2003 graduate of RIT, Stryker says that she has the “best job ever,” coming back as head coach in 2010 after coaching at a few other colleges since graduation.
Looking towards this season, Styker remarks on how lucky they have been in the transition from last year. They lost only one starter from last year’s lineup, and have a really strong sophomore class to lead them forward. In light of this, when speaking about her expectations for the team’s performance, Striker is optimistic. She goes on to say that they plan on leaving a strong impression upon the Empire 8 conference as they move into the Liberty League next year.
The captains for the 2011 season are Carlissa Cole, a fourth year Imaging and Photographic Technology major who is a pitcher and plays first base; Shannon McCormick, a third year Chemical Engineering major who plays outfield; and Megan O’Connell, a second year Mechanical Engineering major who is the team’s catcher. Stryker cites O’Connell’s standout performance and leadership skills for her early rise to the position of captain.
During spring break the team traveled to Tucson, Ariz., where they played a total of 10 pre-season games as a part of their spring training. In the past the team traveled to Florida, but decided upon Arizona this year, where they could hone their skills against particularly tough competition.
McCormick says with confidence that the team is ready for the coming season. Their training and practice began months ago with captain’s practices, and they’ve worked hard leading up to the season, including up until the day they left for spring training. Stryker states that the team is definitely looking for a top four finish as their regular season winds down. They plan to move on from there into a, hopefully, fruitful post season.
In addition to Cole, the team also has Brittany Kemp, a second year Physician Assistant major, as a starting pitcher. Stryker comments with dismay though that she will lose both of them next year, as they will finish their respective programs at RIT after this spring.
The 14 names on this year’s roster are dominated by 10 freshman and sophomores, so as the team moves forward this year and in subsequent years, they are sure to grow very strong as the athletes get a chance to grow as a team throughout their careers at RIT.
With a new home field to christen and strong hopes for the team, the March 23 contest against University of Rochester is sure to be an exciting one.