The Hesston softball team ended spring break in California with a season record of 15-9, winning three out of the four games. On day one they split 1-1 with San Bernardino Valley College and ended the next day with two wins in Palm Desert, California, 15-0 in the first game and 11-1 in the second game.
The trip marked the halfway mark for the team in games and halfway turning point.
Which is exactly what coach Andrew Sharp was hoping would happen.
“The trip was strongly based around having fun and connecting with the team which definitely helped our team chemistry,” said Sharp.
“Full engagement throughout the games has been something we have struggled with as a team the first half of the season, but it’s starting to take a turn for the better,” said freshman Josie Noll. “Cali was definitely a big reason for some of these changes.”
Sierrah Long, Lark’s shortstop and California native, said she believes the Cali trip made the team more confident.
“Cali softball is no joke and to come out with three wins is incredible,” said Long.
The players spent their first night in Albuquerque, New Mexico with two teammates from the area, Brianna Baca and Chantel Purcella. Desiree Bretado, Long, and Jocelyn Chavez also offered their homes as ‘host homes’ to players while in California.
“It was great to interact with them and have our players get to know some of their teammates’ families,” said coach Andrew Sharp.
“It was cool,” said sophomore, Prucella. “I got to show everybody where I’m from and I got to share my family with them.
For some of the team, the trip to California was just a trip home or another softball game. But for Noll, who calls Kansas her home, it was a first time in California experience that she couldn’t of imagined to be any better.
“After playing softball, Kendall [Richardson]’s family took me down to Disneyland where we spent the remainder of our trip,” said Noll. “I absolutely loved being able to see how breathtakingly beautiful the mountains were everywhere I went. Being in Cali was honestly amazing to me.”
California was a relaxing break for the team, spending their off days at the ocean. Now that they’re back, they’re solely focused on the next few weeks. Their record is now 18-14.
For Long, these numbers aren’t too shabby.
“So far the season is going a lot better than expected,” she said. “Our team is working well together to pull out tough wins and stay focused on our goal of playoffs.”
Prucella, pitcher for the Lark’s, sees it a different way.
“The season is a roller coaster,” said Prucella. “We win and we lose. It all comes down to our hitting. At the end of the day we have a good pitching and catching staff on our hands.”
As for the next few weeks?
“For the second half of the season I would expect my team to beat some pretty tough competition,” said Long. “We have the talent on the team for sure, but we need the drive and motivation to do whatever it takes to get a W.”