Parkland softball, baseball teams start with a spring in their step

Peter Floess

Staff Writer

The arrival of spring signals the start to Parkland’s baseball and softball for the year, and both teams are optimistic about the season, with solid win-loss records to boot.

The Cobras’ softball team, whose season started on March 6 in Cocoa Beach, Fla., boasts a record of 17–3 as of March 28.

Up until March 20, the team had no losses racked up for the season; Danville ended their winning streak.

First-year pitcher Jaclyn Thompson says the season is going well. She believes her first year on the team “is going better” than she thought it would.

She predicts the team will perform well this year thanks to the chemistry among its members, and she is excited for the rest of the season.

“Everyone gets along really well on and off the field and we are good at coming back from being down [in scoring],” Thompson said.

Chuck Clutts, the coach of the softball team, feels good about the season. 2016 has been the best year the softball team “has ever had down in Florida.”

Clutts says the team has between 16 and 17 healthy players so far this year, compared to 10 and 11 healthy players last year. According to Clutts, those players last year “fought hard,” but the roster was not large enough to survive the number of injuries the team faced.

This year, all his players are injury-free so far.

The biggest difference between last year and this year is how the sophomores have played, which Clutts says has made the whole team better as a result. He says the sophomores this year are “leading the whole team.”

Outside their conference, Cobra softball is playing two teams that went to nationals last year: Kankakee Community College and Rock Valley College from Rockford.

Clutts believes the team can make it to nationals—which are in Clinton, Mississippi—this year.

Clutts is proud that the softball team had a GPA of 3.56 last in the fall 2016 semester; his team is performing well both on the field and in the classroom, an admirable feat.

Cobra baseball started on Feb. 27 in Normal, Ill. As of March 28, the record of the baseball team is 16-7.

Like softball’s Clutts, David Garica, coach of the baseball team, feels good about the season. At the time of his quote, Cobra baseball had an 8–5 record.

“We have loaded up the front end of our schedule with as many top-tier junior college programs as we could to get us better prepared for Mid-West Athletics Conference (MWAC) play,” Garica said. “We are 8–5 overall right now, so I am happy thus far, however we need to keep pushing to win close games.”

Garica feels like the team this year has more depth than last year

“[We have] many options on our pitching staff and in our lineup,” he said. “We have a veteran group of sophomores that have done a great job of creating a culture that is based around doing things the right way on and off the field. We have mixed them with many impact transfers and top quality freshman that have all meshed together very well.”

He believes that all match-ups in the MWAC are key match-ups.

“Any team in this league is capable of beating you if you do not show up to play,” Garica said.

Garica is excited about this year’s installment of Cobra baseball. In particular, he is excited about the conference against Prairie State of Chicago Heights, which started on March 22—and from whom they took a victory.

“I am enjoying everything about this season,” he said. “This is a great group of guys to be around. I am looking forward in general to conference play. In the big picture how we do in Region 24 is all that matters at the end of the season.”

The season schedules, rosters, and records for both teams can be found on the Parkland college website, under the “Athletics” heading.