Lauren Allison, Staff Writer
The Saints Softball team was picked third in the preseason coaches’ poll for the 2018 season. Under the leadership of first-year head coach Jim Peterson, SMU looks to come out on top. The new coaching staff includes assistant coach Danielle L’Argent, who has spent her last two seasons at Concordia University in Portland, Ore. Mark Edmonstan, who spent 10 years as head coach of Pierce College in Puyallup, Wash., and Andrea Hamada, who joined the coaching staff this past fall and who was formally an assistant coach for Ellensburg High School, where the Bulldogs finished third in the 2017 state tournament.
Peterson is excited for season and said, “the team has improved since [I became] head coach. I’m excited to see how our players implement our system, style and brand of softball [that] we have been implementing during practice and now it’s a matter of translating that to the game.” According to the head coach, the biggest challenge this season will “be placing in the top four in our league play, so we can advance into the league playoffs. Currently, our team has had some offensive struggles scoring runs. So hopefully our team batting average will begin to improve which will give us more opportunities to score runs.”
According to junior pitcher, Lauren Maley, the biggest challenge this season, “will definitely be how competitive our conference is. Every team is a threat, and it makes every bit of the season competitive. We will have to start and end the season strong in order to be the most successful.”
The team has faced two game cancellations so far this season due to weather. The first was the home opener against Pacific Lutheran, which didn’t have a make-up date scheduled. The second was because of poor field condition and expected weather. The Saints’ final two games of the Cavalier Classic, hosted by Concordia University, were cancelled with no make-up date scheduled. The Saints were scheduled to play Northwest and Corban later in the day but just like the game before, forecasted rain cancelled those games.
Maley commented on the weather saying that, “unfortunately, we have become used to games being cancelled, so for us it is just another day and another opportunity to get better until we finally get to play our games.” When it comes to game cancellations, “The players get excited to play games, and when we get rained out it does get frustrating for the players. We practice and prepare for games, and our entire team looks forward to game days,” says Peterson.
The Saints currently hold a 1-3 record in conference and a 6-9 record overall. The Saints competed at the Desert Stinger Tournament in Las Vegas, where they lost four of the five games played. They turned around to play Holy Names University in San Rafael, Calif. where they won the double header following a loss the next day to Academy of Art, and then a game cancellation. The following weekend the Saints started strong in the Concordia University Tournament, with two straight wins against Corban University and Eastern Oregon University. Unfortunately the winning streak was cut short due to the two game cancellations because of weather conditions. SMU played NNU in their last two games where they both games.