BY ASIA MCCRAY
On March 30, the softball team embarked on their conference season, which began at Fairleigh Dickinson University resulting in a split with the Knights.
According to their head coach Pam London, the team’s offensive production has picked up in the leading weeks, which she believes will ultimately take pressure off of the team’s defense and pitching.
“Softball is a game of failure, we fail more than we succeed in our sport and it’s all about how you react to that failure,” said London. “Losses are part of the game and we focus on how we will come back after one, instead of the actual loss, and the best teams turn it around quickly and get after it again.”
Following the conference opener at Fairleigh Dickinson, the Pioneers went on to defeat Mount St. Mary’s in a double-header at home on March 31 and April 1.
According to Athletic Communications, the team out-hit the Mount 11-9 in the game, as Katelyn Christian led the way for the Pioneers as she went 3-for-4 at the plate with three runs batted in, two doubles and one home run.
Senior infielder Stephanie Mangiameli reflected on the importance of the team’s confidence following these two wins over the Mountaineers.
“Over the last few games, we’ve learned that we are a great hitting team, but one thing we can work on that we discussed this week is our confidence,” said Mangiameli. “Confidence comes with being well-prepared to face our opponent, and on game days when we trust that we are prepared, we will have the confidence we need to succeed.”
London believes her ideas of a strong team culture will help lead the team to success during conference play.
“We have spent a great deal of time creating a culture that embodies the principles of family, respect, accountability, passion, selflessness, toughness, and attitude. We have our personal team definition for each of those principals,” said London.
London expresses that team chemistry has been an ongoing process, and it was not built overnight. It is something they take pride in.
“We challenge ourselves to live them daily and we call each other out on it when they are not being followed. We know families will argue and go through rough patches, but in the end the love for each other prevails.”
The Pioneers have not only displayed the power in their culture, however their dominance in hitting has also been quite evident in several games.
On April 13, the team split their double-header with the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut University. Although the Pioneers took a tough loss in the first game, falling 7-6, they conquered the Blue Devils in their second game with a whopping final score of 8-0 in just six innings.
According to Athletic Communications, the Pioneers outhit Central Connecticut 10-6 in this game. Sacred Heart was led by senior infield, Hailey Desrosiers who went 3-4 in the game with three runs scored.
“When I take the field each game, I remind myself that it is a privilege to be playing this game,” said Desrosiers.
A lot goes into center fielder Mangiameli before her games she focuses on the smaller details of the game that she knows will help herself as well as the team.
“I play center field, so I am constantly checking where the wind is blowing for fly balls that come my way, and I also check to see how deep the shortstop and second basemen are playing to know how much ground I must cover if a ball is hit in my direction,” said Mangiameli.
The Pioneers goals are nothing short of a Northeast Conference Championship and a trip to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament.
According to Athletic Communications, the team’s next game takes place on the road at Saint Francis University and Robert Morris during the weekend of April 13, and London hopes to keep the team focused and hopeful for their future endeavors.
“My expectations are of course optimistic,” said London. “We are going to grind our way into the playoffs and hopefully be the hottest team there and win! Then, move on the NCAA Tournament. We’ve got to think big.”