Cobras softball, baseball have high hopes for coming season

Peter Floess

Staff Writer

The Cobras baseball season has started and the softball season is starting on March 5, and coaches and players alike are looking forward to what they think will be a very successful season.

“[The] season is going well so far,” says David Garcia, head coach of the baseball team. “We have been fortunate with good weather. The team has been working hard on the field and in the weight room for this season.”

Garcia says his team is focused on getting into the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series.

“This team plays the game the right way,” says Garcia. “Our pitching staff returns from leading the country in seven different categories in 2016. The entire roster is focused on a return to the NJCAA World Series.”

Head coach of the softball team Chuck Clutts says he is also looking forward to a great season.

“We are looking forward to a possible great season,” Clutts says. “We have a bunch of great athletes, the freshmen who came in last year did a great job. They are sophomores this year. Another great group of freshmen coming in. We are expecting great things. We have some more talent coming in this season, a little more talent, little more speed, a little more power.”

Pitcher and infielder Sophie Catlin, who has had nine home runs and 53 runs batted in over her Parkland career, says she has high hopes for this year’s softball team as well.

“I am beyond excited for this upcoming season,” Catlin says. “We should be the best softball team Parkland has seen in a while now and us girls take pride in that. Us, sophomores talk about the season a lot and we just keep saying to each other that since the freshman haven’t seen the competition they have no idea how well we should be able to do this year.”

Sophomore and outfielder Megan Magsamen, who has had five home runs and 34 RBIs at Parkland, agrees that the team this year has a good chance of doing well.

“I thought that last season went really well,” Magsamen says, “we didn’t do as well as we wanted in post-season, but I have a good feeling that we will redeem ourselves this year. Our team has a lot of potential. We had really good freshman come in this year to add to our experienced sophomores. I think it’ll be a good mix, and I’m really excited to see how this year goes.”

These high hopes come with hard work. Sophomore infielder Haley Ginger who, with a .437 batting average, was the Mid-West Athletic Conference Freshman Offensive Player of the Year last year, has been preparing even in the off-season.

“I spend every other day hitting small balls at home in my basement in the off season,” Ginger says. “I also have a dad that played Men’s Fast-pitch and he has traveled to different countries to play ball and he pitches to me all the time. My main focus is hitting in the off season so I’m always glad to see it appear when it comes game time.”

Both teams have competitive schedules and play out-of-state games, with the baseball team having upcoming games in Tennessee and Indiana.

“Region 24 teams are the most important games, any of them, any weekend,” says Garcia. “Heartland, Lincoln Land, ICC, Danville are all local quality teams that we will have to battle out 4 times in one weekend. Any team in this Region can beat anyone. Early in the season, we play Wabash Valley, Southeast Iowa, NIACC, and Iowa Central are all powerhouses every year.”

Clutts says the midwest is a tough region for softball, as there are a lot of good teams in the area.

“Our region is very, very tough, we have one of the toughest softball regions in the nation,” Clutts says. “Key matchups in our region and conference are Lincoln Land, Heartland, and ICC. Usually John Wood, or Lewis & Clark will pop there and do a good job in the region and in the conference. During the season we are playing a high ranked Rock Valley team and we are playing the number 3 ranked team in the nation, Kankakee.”

From March 5–11, the softball team will be playing in a tournament in Cocoa Beach, Fla.

“I’m looking forward to our trip to Cocoa Beach, Florida. We went 10-0 last year in Cocoa Beach and we are hoping to come back that successful again this season,” says Ginger.

Garcia says he enjoys seeing his team grow throughout the season.

“I look forward to seeing the team continue to grow together over the 56 game schedule toward a common goal,” Garcia says. “I look forward to the competition within the conference and region every week, it’s honestly the best time of the year for me.”

Catlin, who is leaving the team after this year, says she hopes to use all the skills she has fostered over the years and have fun this season.

“As I have had to decide to hang up my cleats after this year, I am looking forward to leaving everything I have on the field with the last girls I’m going to get to play with,” Catlin says. “I feel like this year will be the year I can use everything I’ve learned through the years and years of practice and just have fun. I think that our fans that watch us this year will notice that obviously we are competitive but we truly know how to enjoy the game while we do it and that is what makes playing the game so special.”