My name is Amber Steinhardt. I am a senior on the Western Carolina Softball team. I am from West Palm Beach, Florida and I'm studying Business Administration and Law with a minor in Economics.
We ended the season last year with not only a better record, then the year before, but also a better insight of what our team was capable of. Our coaches were proud of us, but definitely set high expectations upon our return after the summer.
In August, we welcomed seven new members to our team, six freshmen and a junior transfer. The Sunday before school started, the Athletic Department held a "Welcome Back Cook-out" which allowed all of the sports teams to get together and enjoy each others company. This was a very neat event because it showed our new staff that at WCU, we are one family.
Beginning classes was bittersweet for some and overwhelming for others. For the seniors, it would be our last fall semester, meaning we were well on our way to a countdown of graduation; How exciting! On the other hand, juggling classes, workouts, meetings, and practices, the freshmen quickly learned how important their time and organization was.
To help everyone become more comfortable with each other, our coaches set up a team bonding trip, - white water rafting down the Nantahala. We were each categorized in to different groups based on our position on the field. With a two-hour trip in the water, we worked on skills such as, communication and working together to overcome the rapids, which resembled obstacles that we may face during the season. Overall, it was a successful trip and everybody had a great time.
Individuals started on Tuesday September 4th and lasted about two weeks. During this time, the coaches focused on working out our kinks from the summer on an individual basis, as well as, getting to know our new teammates and their strengths and weaknesses. It was a time of us to get back in to the swing of things without the pressure of participating in a full practice.
On September 17, we began our first team practice of the fall. The coaches stressed how important the upcoming two weeks were because our first game was set for the weekend of September 29th. In between those dates, we worked on basic defense and offense drills, and coming together as one on the field. Mid-week, the pitching staff threw to live batters not only to give the hitters some competition, but to see what else they needed to fine tune before we headed to the tournament. Our final day of practice was a "feel good" practice. We gained our confidence and knew in our hearts that we were ready to battle.
The last weekend in September approached quickly, and the Catamount softball team was ready to show everything they had worked on, and to prove that this year would be the true turn-around for the program.
Our overall weekend was an exciting one to say the least. We opened up the tournament with an 8-0 win against Southern Wesleyan and ended the day with a 6-2 win against Presbyterian. On Sunday, we returned again with more passion then the first day. Winning both games on Sunday, we left the tournament with happy fans, players, and coaches and gave Catamount Nation just a little taste of what to expect for our upcoming season.
Everyone played with heart and fought until the very end. I think we can all agree that we started off our fall season right by going undefeated. Unfortunately, I was a bystander this weekend due to an injury, but I mean when I say there was never a dull moment during any of the games. I couldn't be more proud and I really can't wait to get back on the field with them and put in the hard work and effort they have been giving on a daily basis.
We return to our home field on October 4th, for our fall home opener against Mars Hill at 6 and 8pm. Please come out and show your support by bleeding your purple and gold.
Until next time, GO CATS!