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The softball team may be near the end of the fall season, but the players and coaches are just beginning to get a sense for where the team stands, according to head coach Joe Abraham.

He said the eight games played have helped the team gain expe­rience before the spring season — an important form of practice for a young team.

“We scheduled a lot of fall games this year because we have so many freshmen and a large roster,” Abraham said. “We coaches needed some extra games to help see what we have. It’s been good — the eight games we’ve played, plus the intrasquad games have helped us start to sort things out.”

The most recent games, a 16 – 6 win against Danville Area Com­munity College and a 4 – 1 win against Musk­ingum Uni­versity on Sunday showed the team’s strengths in on-field per­for­mance and team dynamics, according to senior third baseman Kelsey Gockman.

“That’s when I felt like we were starting to mesh together as a team,” Gockman said. “Even the game before that — that’s when our hitting really turned on.”

Sat­urday, the team split with a 4 – 1 loss to Otterbein College, but rallied for a 4 – 3 win over Danville in Columbus, Ohio.

“The first game wasn’t our best played game, but we came back and fought our second game on the OSU field and won,” junior second baseman Jessica Taylor said. “That was a cool expe­rience. The stadium was beau­tiful and the atmos­phere was some­thing we don’t really get to expe­rience here in Hillsdale.”

Over the weekend of Sept. 23 – 24, the team went 1 – 3, winning against Hei­delberg College 3 – 1 and falling to Bowling Green State Uni­versity twice and Otterbein College once. The size of the team has also allowed for several intrasquad scrim­mages, which Gockman said has helped team­mates get to know each other’s’ playing styles and improve team chem­istry on the field.

Taylor said the most recent games bode well for the team’s remaining two fall games scheduled for noon and 4 p.m. Oct. 15 at Hillsdale against Jackson Com­munity College and Oakland Com­munity College.

“We played the best we have all fall, stringing hits together with some great defense behind our pitchers,” Taylor said. “These games should send us with the right amount of con­fi­dence into our home games.”

Abraham said this year’s team has a strong pitching staff and solid defense, but improved hitting will help the team prepare for con­ference play.

“What we need this year is for some of our returning players to get at least 10 percent better at the plate because three of our top hitters from last year will not be in the lineup,” Abraham said. “If our players can hit any­where close to what they’re capable of, we’re going to be a really good team because we have the pitching and the defense.”