Mules softball looks to finish season with a home run

The Muhlenberg softball team attempts to end their season on a high note ahead of their last few matchups

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Captain and pitcher, Sophie Chong '21, winds up during a doubleheader with the Ursinus Bears on April 8. Photo Courtesy of Muhlenberg Athletics.

Last weekend, Apr. 17 and 18, the Muhlenberg softball team split two doubleheaders; one versus McDaniel College and another against Gettysburg College. Following their 2-2 record over the weekend, the team now sits at an overall record of 4-10 on the season. 

While this may not be the type of year that the players and coaches had hoped for coming into the season, pitcher Sophie Chong ‘21 spoke about how the team plans on ending the season on a positive note. “For the remainder of our season we are really just focusing on putting the pieces together and finishing strong. Coach Maul [the assistant coach] has really been stressing the importance of executing the small things on and off of the field which is something we are trying to improve on.”  

With COVID-19 taking away their preseason, it was extremely important for the players to practice and prepare on their own. Fellow pitcher Cora Bridgers ‘22 spoke about the challenges of playing this season during the pandemic. She said, “It has been pretty tough juggling an accelerated season of games, lifts, and practices as well as schoolwork and other things. Doubleheaders are commonplace for our seasons but without a preseason, jumping right in required some adjustments to all of our schedules. Physically, I think we all have a pregame routine that keeps us from being sore and tired. We also listen to our bodies, understand our limits, and keep Coach [Leavenworth] in the loop with how we feel throughout the week.” 

Since the start of their season on Mar. 16, the softball team has played weekly games. They emerged out of the gates slowly, suffering defeat in their first six games. However, in their last eight matchups they have a combined record of 4-4. It is clear that as the season has gone on, the team as a whole has improved and played better. With four games left on the schedule, the team plans on carrying their newfound momentum with them into their final four contests. 

Chong talked about the expectations in these last two games stating, “for our final two double headers, I am looking to finish strong and enjoy every minute of it. This will be my last time playing softball and I really just want to cherish the game with my great teammates.” 

Not only was the 2021 season something very new and different to the players because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was also Coach Sarah Leavenworth’s first full season as the team’s head coach. Still, catcher Genna Cicchetti ‘22 had nothing but great words to say about Coach Leavenworth. “Her message is to always be the mentally tougher team on the field. Being mentally in the game is more than half the battle, especially because they are such long days and our team is not allowed to be in the dugout because of social distancing protocols. We had to learn to adapt, and be happy for the opportunities we got. Coach always looks for the most enthusiastic girl on the bench who is mentally in the game the whole day, and looks to sub them in to make changes throughout.”

Even though the Muhlenberg softball team has faced tough challenges this year, they believe that this season is going to help the program improve mightily in the future. Even though Chong is graduating this year, she still knows that this season will have an impact on the future of Muhlenberg softball. “This season will definitely be a talking point for future Muhlenberg teams. I feel as though if we can get through this season together, this program can get through anything.”

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