The Hillsdale College softball team flew down to Dahlonega, Georgia, last weekend to play two doubleheaders against top Division II teams.
The Chargers split with the University of West Florida, and lost both games to the University of North Georgia, finishing the weekend 1 – 3.
“We were very grateful for the opportunity to play this weekend,” junior team captain and outfielder Reagan Gensiejewski said. “But this weekend doesn’t show what we can do as a team, and I think the rest of the season is going to be more reflective who Hillsdale softball actually is.”
Kicking off the competition with a win against West Florida, the Chargers demonstrated the strength of their defense and pitching staff. Senior pitcher Dana Weidinger finished the game with no walks and won the 33rd game of her career, which moves her into a tie for sixth place in Hillsdale history for career pitching wins.
Weidinger explained the excitement she felt this weekend after having to wait 388 days since the Charger’s last game.
“It’s almost like you’re a kid that is trying to steal cookies off the top of the fridge,” Weidinger said. “As soon as you get that cookie jar, you’re just through the roof about it. Getting to step foot on that mound and be surrounded by my teammates was exhilarating.”
Despite the excitement of finally getting to play, the Chargers lost the last three of their games. Head coach Kyle Gross said they struggled with defense and allowed runs early in the game.
In the midst of these challenging games, Gross said he reminded his players to focus on their game, and their game alone.
“I told them to take the scoreboard out of it. We need to have our bats, do the things we need to do to improve, and remain positive,” Gross said. “We took the good things away and learned from the mistakes we made, and now we get to play again this weekend. And that was our message this past weekend: we get to play.”
The Chargers are traveling to Rosemont, Illinois to compete in the Dome Tournament, where they will be playing five games between Friday Feb. 19 and Sunday Feb. 21.
Weidinger said that the team is maintaining an encouraging, positive attitude going into this weekend and cannot wait to see more opponents.
“We’re looking forward and having that positive mindset going into these games, no matter who is on the other side of that field,” Weidinger said. “It’s about knowing that we can do this and play these five games against tough opponents because we’re one of the best teams out there.”
With the results of this past weekend behind them, Gensiejewski explained that those losses are now motivation for the Chargers going into this weekend.
“We were frustrated, and I think that’s a good thing because if you want to be a successful college team, you have to think about your sport 24/7,” Gensiejewski said. “So that’s in the back of our minds, now we’re going to go show everyone what we can actually do.”