Three women exited the locker room dressed in sports attire and cleats while carrying oversized gym bags. Heading to practice, they were chatting amongst themselves and laughing, which was a sure sign of excellent chemistry for the Yuba College softball team.
Last spring the animosity within the team held it back from a successful season, but this year Yuba College softball has several fresh faces that seem to be a change in the right direction.
Despite being a few girls short at practice, both the team and Coach Stephanie Reynolds seemed to be dedicated to playing a series of victorious games in 2007.
According to Coach Reynolds, the team does not have any serious flaws. What would usually remain the greatest setback for a community college softball team is inexperience. However, even with a total of six freshmen on Yuba’s team, Reynolds does not consider it a drawback.
“The freshmen I have are pretty committed,” Reynolds said. “So I’m really not worried at inexperience at this level because a lot of them have played summer ball.”
Sophomore teammate Ashley Vierra, no. 4, said of her freshman teammates, “They are actually pretty good. The dedication is there.”
Last season the major issue on the field was not the opposing team. It was Yuba softball’s own teammates. They were only three games out of first last spring but were dwarfed by Mendecino and Napa. Their toughest obstacle, according to Coach Reynolds, was inner conflict within the team.
Second baseman Stephanie Chapman, no. 12, said, “Last year there was a lot of issues between sophomores and freshmen. They were totally divided. There were little clicks.”
However, Coach Reynolds said that this year the team doesn’t have those conflicts between players.
Without caddy conflict, Yuba’s team appears to have a bright future. Coach Reynolds said she has never had so many talented girls on a team.
“All of my girls that came in this year had raw talent,” Reynolds said. “We just had to fine tune it.” Reynolds also stated that all the incoming freshmen seem to be passionate about the game and, combined with the leadership skills of sophomores, create a recipe for some sweet wins. Both the team and the coach have high expectations for this season.
Amy Daniels, pitcher and transfer from Butte, said, “We’re gonna take state!”
Overall the team, according to Coach Reynolds is pretty well balanced. “Any day, anybody could be the hero,” she said.
Pre-season began Friday, February 16.