Young softball team loses only senior

Senior Sophie Wood hits the ball out of the park in Conway. It was the best way to start the new season off for her. 

“Hitting the ball out Saturday against Conway felt like a nice start for the new season,” senior Sophie Wood said. 

Due to a genetic issue with Wood’s knee, she will have surgery to end her softball career in mid-March. 

“It’s not an injury but a genetic issue in my knee that I’ve been dealing with for a while now,” Wood said. “It’s a personal decision to get it fixed for my daily life because it hurts all the time.”

Wood is currently the only senior on the team. There are two juniors and the rest of the team are sophomores and freshmen. According to Wood, the team should still play well and her being out will not affect their season.

“Me being out shouldn’t affect our season at all,” Wood said. “The girls on the team are still going to play their hardest and kick butt. I also plan on being back for support when I’m recovered enough.”

According to Wood’s teammate, junior Bri Crowley, Wood is a good hitting and leader. When she leaves, the rest of the team will need to lead.

“She’s a really good hitter,” Crowley said. “She’s a really good leader on the field. So I think the underclassmen and the rest of us are just gonna have to be better leaders.” 

Head coach Candi Bailey believes the team is young but they are improving everyday.

“We are trying to be competitive with the girls we have but the future is so bright,” Bailey said. “We are learning so much and getting better every single day.”

The team has been lifting weights, practicing their swings and conditioning. The team has purchased a blast device for each girl on the team. This will analyze swings.

“We purchased blast device’s for every girl on the team which provide accountability on how many swings they are getting a week,” Bailey said. 

The team has chants and cheers in the dugout. 

“The chants in the dugout are a good way for the team to pick each other up,” Wood said. “It ensures that we are all engaged in the game.”

According to Crowley, the cheers get in the defense’s head.

“We just cheer on our teammates, try to get in the defense head,” Crowley said. “If we see that a pitcher is affected by us cheering, we get louder.”