Rams stay optimistic amidst a tough season
Winning may not be something the North Central softball team is all too familiar with, but there is still hope and optimism surrounding the minds and hearts of the lady Rams.
Overall, the Rams have struggled to get on the scoreboard this season. With a batting average sitting at .211, an on-base percentage of .292 and a 5 percent win ratio, the ladies managed to pull off their first win against the Maranantha Baptist Sabercats two weeks ago, in a close game of 14-10. This was their first win after a 14-game losing streak.
“It’s been a very tough year, so having that one day to look back on and say ‘we finally played the way we can play’ feels great, and it was very important for the girls to know that they have a chance,” head coach Jesse Martens said.
According to Martens, the biggest area of defeat this season has been developing a working offense. The most important factor in an offensive team is the skilled relationship between the pitcher and catcher.
The Rams are currently without a designated pitcher. Instead, they have been pulling players from other defensive positions and utilizing those players to fill the hole, which, in turn, hurts the dynamic of the defense. Kylee Bommersbach, Amanda Roth and Holly Pieper have been rotating out of their current defensive positions in order to fill the void on the mound.
“To their credit, they’re doing an amazing job and having a good attitude about it even when they don’t necessarily want to be in that role,” Martens said.
One of the biggest factors contributing to the losing season has been recruiting. According to Martens, many recruits are interested in coming to North Central until they hear that there is a lack of major selection, specifically in the field of sciences. When prospective students hear there is no opportunity to pursue a preferred degree, they turn to other Christian schools in the Twin Cities such as Bethel University, Northwestern University or Crown College.
Most of the current recruiting efforts are going toward finding a pitcher. On top of needing a pitcher, the Rams are looking to beef up their depth chart with another catcher. The Rams have not had the combination of the two positions with the experience needed to carry the team. Recruiting efforts are weighing heavily on the specialized positions of the pitcher-catcher combination.
“This is not an easy school to recruit for both of these positions at the same time,” Martens said.
The Rams are currently sitting in last place in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference with a record of 1-19.
Looking ahead, the team is optimistic as they charge their way into the end of a tough season. According to Martens, confidence is going to be a contributing factor for the ladies as “there are only a couple more games on the schedule that are reasonably winnable.”
“Our program is undergoing a lot of growth, and the current losing record is a reflection of that growth,” sophomore captain Abbey Erzberger said. “We are a relatively young team with young players.”
As the new players continue to gain confidence and experience, the Rams strive to cling to optimism as they head into the remainder of the season.
“This is step one of rebuilding,” Martens said. “The new players are gaining confidence and experience. The foundation has been laid and we are ready to take the next step.”