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Natalie Walters circles the bases after hitting a home run during the Chargers’ road trip to Florida last month. (Carly Gouge | Courtesy)

The Hillsdale College Chargers will con­tinue their regular season tomorrow in Clermont, Florida, as they begin a stretch of 14 games in 10 days. The team will face several teams who were pre­vi­ously in the GLIAC.

“That’ll be a chal­lenge,” head coach Kyle Gross said. “And also some­thing to look forward to.”

Junior infielder Sam Catron said the team will be heading to Clermont with the same mindset as its first trip to Florida, where they went 2 – 3 last month.

“We’re looking to win,” Catron said. “Ulti­mately, we’re just looking to play as hard as we can and really working as a team, not focusing on indi­vidual at-bats, but the game as a whole.”

Although the Chargers haven’t played games for more than a month, Gross said he’s impressed by the team’s level of per­for­mance in practice.

“It’s tough to focus and just practice indoors for that solid month,” Gross said. “I hon­estly feel we’re ready to go.”

Junior infielder Madison Rathbun also said the team has been very focused in practice.

“We’ve done a really fan­tastic job with grinding at practice with high energy,” Rathbun said.

Gross said the team has been working hard on defensive skills, espe­cially the short game.

“Our defense looks the sharpest it has all year, in all aspects,” Gross said. “We feel we’re ready to play.”

In addition to a strong defense, Catron said the team’s offense has been focused on hitting line drives.

“Overall, we’ve just been improving the little tech­niques that will help us big-time in the end,” Catron said.

Over the past month, Gross said the pitchers have been working hard on exe­cuting their pitches and devel­oping a “pitcher mindset” for how the team will use the staff.

“They’ve been working more exe­cution, still been the staple of our pitching,” Gross said. “And also kind of a pitcher mindset, and how we’re going to use our staff.”

Gross said the team created a live pitching drill that allows the pitchers to back each other up.

“They can only pitch to three batters,” Gross said. “And if they don’t get the third out then the next pitcher has to come in and finish the job.”

Gross said with the amount of games the team will play, he’s going to use everyone on the pitching staff, even junior utility player Erin Gordon.

Catron said there is not a weak link on the pitching staff.

“The pitchers have been working the hardest out of any of us,” Catron said. “They put in the extra hours, and they are just really working together and building each other up. They’re all strong, I have no doubt they’re gonna kill it in Florida.”

Rathbun said because the Chargers will be playing so many games, they will need to stay men­tally tough throughout their 10-day trip.

“Endurance and stamina will be key,” Rathbun said. “We’ll be in Florida with our best friends playing an amazing game, but we need to stay focused and have a sense of urgency as to why we are there: to win.”

 

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    It seems the real chal­lenge to the Hillsdale Chargers Ladies Softball team is going to be pitching. With the loss of go-to Pitcher Erin Hunt-a transfer to Toledo-we’ll have to rebuild that sector. In the few games they’ve had on video it looks like we have some promising talent in Walters and Olsen, but it’ll take time for them to develop. Right now the weight is mostly on the shoulders of Junior Dana Wei­dinger, but she can’t do it alone.

    The Chargers need to accom­plish more when at bat, to take the load off the pitching staff. They have looked better the last couple of games in Florida, but we need more hitters to carry their own load. We’ll see how they do in con­ference in a few weeks.