Softball is typically a spring sport, but the Butler softball team is more than halfway through its fall season.
Butler’s official season is still in the spring, but the team is using a short, eight-game fall season to take stock of the newcomers and figure out individuals’ technique and skill levels.
“We’re looking to gauge where everyone is,” coach Scott Hall said. “We’re obviously out here trying to win, but our ultimate goal is in the spring, and this is going to help us get there and tell us where our focus needs to be.”
The team lost six seniors to graduation, and fifth-year senior Kayla Gray decided to forgo her last year of eligibility due to injury.
Hall had 10 freshman join the team and will be holding open tryouts to fill the required 25-person roster.
Sophomore infielder Kristen Boros, who was named to the 2012 Horizon League All-Newcomer team, said the biggest difference between this season and last is having to go back to basics.
“With so many upperclassmen before, we just went out and played,” Boros said. “Now coach Hall has to break it down a little more.”
Hall agrees and said that he feels like he has to do a little bit more coaching now.
“We have to introduce the new kids to how we break down hitting and how we do defensive sets,” Hall said. “But it’s neat watching our older ones become leaders and teach just as much as I am.”
Even the returning players are fighting for spots, learning to balance the competition between each other and still trying to gel as a team.
“We have always had to compete, but it’s a little more intense this year,” junior Callie Dennison said. “In the end it doesn’t really matter who’s on the field because we are a team first.”
Dennison primarily played in the infield last season, but in six fall games, she has manned a spot in the outfield.
“Nothing’s guaranteed,” Dennison said. “I still have to earn it and be ready to play anywhere.”
In addition to competing for spots, the team is trying to find its identity.
Boros said the team is typically a very funny, laid-back group and expects that to continue this year.
“We have some serious ones, but we all just have so much fun,” Boros said. “Someone will tell a story, and we’ll keep laughing forever.”
Freshman Alex Kotter is still trying to figure out different aspects of the team and get to know everyone but said she can already pick out different personalities.
“Meaghan Sullivan is definitely a serious one—she expects perfection—but then we have Jenny and Callie who kind of lighten the mood at times too,” Kotter said. “But sometimes I don’t know whether coach is being serious or kidding around with me. Meaghan has had to tell me a few times, ‘Alex, he’s joking,’ and then I laugh.”
The team has a 4-1-1 record through the fall with two games remaining.