by Jennifer Coots
The women’s softball team had quite an impressive season this year, with a record of 37-3 overall and 21-1 in the PAC. With Coach Bridget Baxter leading the way, the women’s team is seated number one in the PAC and ranked in the top 25 out of the entire country, sitting as sixth in the country for Division III schools.
Quite impressive feats for such a young team, which consists of two seniors and three juniors with the remaining nine members being a mixture of sophomores and freshmen.
This team is not only unique for its accomplishment in being the first Cabrini team to be ranked in the top 25, but also because no captains were named this season.
“We have natural leaders,” Baxter said. “The younger kids step up and help out. There are so many excellent leaders that we couldn’t select just one.
According to Baxter, a major part of the team’s success has to do with the quality of leadership present.
“My team is very unselfish,” Baxter said. “There is never an I. It’s always we. The team works hard and supports each other tremendously.”
The women have also worked hard by engaging in off-season training, spending more time in the weight room then in previous seasons, which has produced a stronger, faster and impervious team.
Despite hard work, a team cannot exercise its talent without a decent coach, which is exactly what the softball team has. Baxter, who has coached at Cabrini for the past four seasons, was named Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000.
Last season confirmed the team’s talent, beating the expected PAC winners, Misericordia College, and being selected in this preseason to win again. Such a history and expectations could prove to be lethal for a team with a winning streak, placing extreme pressure to again come out on top. However, the team is not focusing on just winning.
“We don’t put pressure on ourselves to win,” first baseman Rita Horning said. “We just play and focus on having a good time.”
Over spring break, the team traveled to the Leadoff Classic in LaGrange, Ga. Only the top 25 teams were invited to this event. It was in Georgia that the women’s team had their first loss of the season, initially beating and then losing to the defending national champions, St. Mary’s University, from Minnesota.
Since the women’s team is seated first in the PAC, they have the honor of deciding where to play. Usually the leading team hosts the game, and since the women don’t have a field to call their own, they will have to borrow a field from another university. PAC Championships are scheduled for April 28-29.