Right out of the offseason, the Cornell softball team will jump right into the swing of things when the team travels to Deland, Florida to compete in the Hatter Classic. There, they will battle LIU Brooklyn, the South Dakota, Bethune-Cookman twice and the host Stetson over the course of a three-day affair. Here, the team looks to kick off its season on the right foot with some new faces in the lineup.
The Red looks to bounce back from a disappointing 9-32 campaign last year, one of the worst records in the program’s history. Under the guidance of head coach Julie Farlow ’97, as well as a new assistant coach in Janet Maguire, the team looks to gains made during the offseason as a starting point to success.
“We’ve spent a lot of time paying attention to detail in the offseason instead of just mindlessly running through drills,” said junior catcher Tori Togashi. “There’s always a situation or something of that nature to make it seem more realistic and help prepare us more for games.”
Farlow looks toward the personnel changes in pitching staff, as well as infield, as some defining upgrades for the team this season,
“Since last season, we added depth to our pitching staff. Having three freshmen pitchers, as well as junior Maddie Orcutt, should help us tremendously,” she said. “We’ve also added depth to our infield and as they gain more and more experience, we should be more solid in that area.”
Despite the new additions to the team, the Red still will face the threat of rust against other teams who already have their seasons underway.
“We are going to be faced with the challenge of experience next weekend,” Togashi said. “Every other team started playing the first week of February and we play our first games this weekend. We have a pretty young team this year so I think just getting the first game jitters out of the way is going to help us a lot.”
“All of our opponents have already played 10-15 games. Some of their hitters have over 40 at-bats and ours have none,” Farlow added. “We won’t be as comfortable as our opponents since we’re not yet up to game-speed. We’ll need to remain calm, control the things we can control, and take care of the fundamentals.”
But last week’s heat wave in Ithaca proved to be a major benefit for the team — allowing them to gain some valuable time playing on the field to prepare for this weekend’s showdowns.
“Due to the unexpected nice weather lately we’ve been able to practice outside which has allowed us to do a lot more live scrimmaging, helping everyone prepare and build up endurance for games,” added Togashi.” Being outside just allows us to practice more realistically, which has been very helpful the week leading up to our opening games.”
With many changes this off season, the Red is ready to go out and show the league that they are ready. The Red hopes to be a team on the rise, leaving the ghost of last season behind them.
That challenge begins this Friday at 10 a.m. from sunny Deland, Fla.