The Hillsdale College softball team will play its first games in the G‑MAC against Trevecca Nazarene and Kentucky Wesleyan this coming weekend, beginning the season with two strong opponents.
“We start off this weekend with four games against two of the best teams in the league,” head coach Joe Abraham said. “These are teams we could beat or they could beat us. These games could go either way.”
Kentucky Wesleyan, the defending G‑MAC champions, were the first to unseat Trevecca Nazarene as the tournament champions since the G‑MAC’s inception in 2011. Hillsdale has played both teams previously as a part of the non-conference season.
In the time since the Chargers returned from Florida 6 – 6 on the season, Abraham said the team has spent the week preparing for conference play and improving short-game defense, offensive mindset, and situational hitting.
Currently, Kish and junior second baseman Amanda Marra are ranked second and third in the G‑MAC for batting, averaging .500 and .486 respectively.
Kish also commented on the strength of the team’s pitching staff.
Hillsdale polled third in the G‑MAC in the preseason poll, with Kentucky Wesleyan predicted for first and Cedarville University predicted for second.
“I think that we are going into it with the mentality that we’re expecting to get some wins,” senior third baseman Kelsey Gockman said. “We think that we can definitely be a very dominant team.”
Even in the new conference, the Chargers will face many familiar teams formerly in the GLIAC, including Findlay University, Lake Erie College, Malone University, Ohio Dominican University, Ursuline College, and Walsh University. Abraham said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to compete in the new conference.
“Going into the G‑MAC, we’re finally matched up against schools with similar resources to our program, so it gives us more of a fair shot,” Abraham said. “You can’t ask for much more as a coach than to be put on somewhat equal footing with your opponents.”
Junior Katie Kish said she’s optimistic for the season after facing strong competition in Florida and having the opportunity to practice on a field.
“I think we’re going to be really good this season,” Kish said. “By the end of that week, we were playing so well together that we’re going to be hard to beat if we’re playing as a team. We’re all just really excited and have high hopes for the season.”