Soaking up the sun

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photo courtesy of Muhlenberg Athletics. Sarah Karmazyn '22 preparing to bunt the ball

While most people went home for the ten-day spring break, the Muhlenberg baseball took a trip down to Florida for the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational while the softball team participated in the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic in South Carolina and the Cross Bay Bash in Virginia. Beyond playing the sport they love, this trip allowed the players to bond with their friends and enjoy the good weather. “When on our spring trip we stay together in really nice houses in groups of seven to ten and have a ton of down time so we really grow together as friends. Being able to flush a loss by playing beach volleyball or hanging out in a hot tub was really beneficial,” said Ryan Hebert ‘22. “Every house had a pool and hot tub where most of the time was spent. It was friendly timing that Thursday was the start of March Madness, so a lot of nights were spent watching the games. The time spent in the airport and on the bus holds some of the best conversations and memories that I’ll always keep with me.” 

The softball team also found ways to have fun in their free time. “Off the field, we were able to enjoy going to the aquarium, going out to dinners, going for walks on the beach, and just overall enjoy each other’s company,” said Sarah Karmazyn ‘22. For teammate Kristin Oberg ‘22, this was a much-needed trip. “Since we didn’t have a spring break last year and this season our team is very young, this gave us a lot of time to get to know each other and make some great memories.”

The softball players also had a great time being with their friends and being in the southern weather. “This trip always helps bring us closer together. It allows us to have fun and live together all while playing the sport we love,” said Karmazyn. “As a team we are able to make jokes, connect with each other and create traditions that carry on through the season.” The spring break trip is a great way to build team chemistry both on and off the field and with each tournament taking place at the beginning of the season, allows the teams to prepare for the tough matchups that will be coming up. 

While the teams had their fun off the field, they were still there to compete. The baseball team went 4-3 during the invitational and played some tough teams, but they always remained focused on each game at a time. “On the field, playing so many games in a seven-day period makes it easy to forget any tough games and focus on the next. Having a big win on Saturday and traveling home is always a great feeling,” said Hebert. “My favorite memory of the trip was definitely bouncing back from a tough loss on Friday with a big win against a good Middlebury team on Saturday.” 

While there are always some tough losses, both teams pulled out some big wins which will prepare them for when conference play rolls around. The softball team also showed their resilience during their travels. After going 0-4 in the Cross Bay Bash, the softball team overcame those games and rattled off five wins in their last six games during the break, going 5-5 overall. Karmazyn and the team, however, this goes beyond just playing a game. “My favorite memory was just getting to play softball again,” she said. “Due to the past two years, it has shown all of us how grateful we are for everything around us and being able to finally have a full season again is just memorable in itself.”  

These tournaments set the tone for the season. For the players, this trip puts into perspective what they are capable of when playing at their best. “Spring break didn’t change our goals for the season but it definitely reinforced our belief that we are a top team in the conference and if we play our game right, we should win a lot of games this year,” said Hebert. 

Karmazyn feels the same way, saying, “I think we are going to have a great season this year. Our team is strong and gritty and full of depth, from the senior class to the freshmen,” she said. “We are so talented in many different ways and everyone brings something different to the table which makes this team so awesome. Based off of our results over spring break, I am really excited to start conference play because we have the capability to be successful and go far.” 

Oberg feels this group has the potential to make some noise. “Over spring break we played three teams in the top five rankings in the country. While this was a challenge, it showed us how successful we can be in our conference and beyond. This season we have the most talent we’ve had in the last four years and with that we are looking to make a strong run for the conference title. Our team truly loves being on the field and competing everyday so I believe we can see a lot of success in our future.”

With conference play approaching, the teams will take the lessons and time spent together in Florida and Virginia and apply them for the rest of the season. After pulling out a 19-5 victory over New Jersey City University, the team looks to add to their 11-4 record at Moravian on Tuesday Mar. 29. The softball team will open up conference play with a double header Sunday at McDaniel College on Apr. 2. 

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