by Jennifer Devereaux
The 2001 women’s softball team is, for the fourth season in a row, without a field to call their own.
The team, coached by Bridget Baxter, used to practice and host games at Archbishop Carol here in Radnor. However, because of field regulations, the team is unable to play on Carol’s field anymore. Carol’s field’s backstop is 15 ft. behind home plate. In order for a field to be suitable for college play the backstop must be 25 ft. behind the plate.
These days, the girls make do practicing in local parks and using the batting cages in the Dixon Center. Unfortunately, the lack of a field has been a big inconvenience for the team. However, in spite of this added challenge, the team was ranked #7 in the nation in the April 4 edition of U.S.A. Today.
One of the major problems posed by the lack of a field is not being able to host games at home. All games must be played away. Because of this, the players must miss classes, as the team has to leave an hour earlier than if the game was at home.
Moreover, the players must miss night classes because of the extra hour it takes to get back from what should have been a home game.
At the beginning of the semester, the players had a schedule and could discuss it with their professors, however, now the players have had to abandon the original schedule. As a result, in some cases, they might not be able to inform their professors that they will leave class early or miss class entirely until the day before the game.
Baxter feels that the team works very hard preparing in the summer and the pre-season but now they are being punished for it.
Baxter said, in reference to the lack of a field, “It’s affecting academics, recruiting and fan-support. Nobody’s going to drive an hour away for a game.”
Baxter is concerned about obtaining recruits. She feels that recruits want both academics and softball, however, right now the girls can not have both.
Recruits see what the girls go through without a field and it deters them from wanting to be a part of it. An example of this is an occasion when the team was practicing on Eastern College’s field. A recruit came to watch but left early bothered by the fact that there was a tractor in the middle of the field.