The challenge of running a community college team where coaches only get two years with their players has been apparent this season for the Yuba College softball team.
Coaches rely on on their returning players to be team leaders and to play key positions. Meanwhile, first year players get the experience and learn so that they can step up the following year.
A team that was supposed to have many experienced second year players is instead largely made up of talented but inexperienced first year players. Many of the players were not a part of the offseason, in which the team plays scrimmages against other community college teams and learns to play together as a unit.
The lack of playing time as a group means that the team has not had a chance to gel, Head Coach Stephanie Reynolds told me.
All of this has led to a slow start for the softball team. The lack of offseason play for the first-year players combined with the doubleheaders that the team’s schedule is made up of has also caused fatigue to set in. The team has dealt with its fair share of sore arms, knees, and shoulders.
Despite the setbacks, Coach Reynolds still expects her team to produce a winning season. According to her, the team, led by sophomores Yasmin Moreno, Amy Nichols and Shyanne Parrish, is capable of finishing the season with a winning record and earning a playoff berth.
Coach Reynolds’ reasons for believing her team has what it takes to shrug off this slow start are plentiful.
For one, the team has a great temperament. The more experienced players are patient with the less experienced players, while the less experienced players are all very coachable. “They are all willing to learn,” she told me.
The team also includes many talented first-year players who are shaping up to become standouts on the team. These include pitcher Tori Stevens and catcher Mikayla McLanahan, who together could become a great battery for the team, and Melissa Draper, who has pitched and played third base with success so far this season.
While the team has gotten off to a shaky start, there is no reason to believe that they will not be able to turn around their season, finish with a winning record and maybe even make some noise in the playoffs
Note: This article was featured in the Spring 2016 edition of The Prospector.