GRAYSON PRATHER | STAFF REPORTER
The Butler University softball team has six incoming freshmen this year, each of whom are excited to contribute to the team.
Freshman Katelyn Cahill, from LaGrange, Ill., said she knows even though softball is fun, the competition will increase in college.
“It is definitely a huge time commitment,” Cahill said. “I feel like, as opposed to other sports, softball is such a mental sport.”
Ambry Turpen, another freshman – a pitcher from Fortville, Ind. – has seen that the attitude in college is a much different perspective than what she has been exposed to in high school.
“One big difference is people’s passion for playing,” Turpen said. “In travel and in high school, people are just there to play. Coming to college, everybody wants to be here, which is really awesome.”
Alyssa Lach, a freshman infielder from Algonquin, Ill., has also seen a major difference between playing softball in high school and in college.
“For softball, it is more intense with workouts and practices,” Lach said. “You are surrounded by people that care a lot more than in high school. Everyone has the goal of winning and improving the team.”
Head coach Scott Hall said he knows coming into college is a huge change for freshmen, but he has positive feelings about what this year has in store.
“It is a big adjustment for freshmen, obviously, but it looks like we have got a good group that has potential to really make an impact on our team this year,” Hall said.
The freshmen on the squad have seen the importance placed on goals in the program.
“They have been huge this year about goals,” Cahill said about the coaching staff. “Before every practice, we set three goals, usually, in the locker room.”
Another freshman, Sarah Dixon, an outfielder from Pendleton, Ind., also noticed a very important goal for the team this season.
“One was to give perfect effort,” Dixon said. “You can’t always play perfectly, but effort can always be perfect.”
“We have talked about controllables,” she said, “which is more of a mental aspect. You can control how your approach is, but you can’t really control the pitches they throw, or the umpires.”
Turpen, has also found a goal for her and her teammates this year;
“Going in strong and finishing strong is a big thing,” she said. “It is hard to play all 53 games, go in strong and then you lose. So just staying strong all year.”
In order to better complete their goals this season, Hall says, the best way to help the freshmen prepare themselves is for them to have experience in games.
“Nothing is going to teach them better than game experience,” Hall said. “That is where the fall is really critical – where they get some games at the college level and see the speed and the difference in the game from what they are used to.”
Freshman Maggie MacBeth, an Indianapolis native, said Hall was one of the main reasons for her and others in choosing the Bulldogs.
“I would say I really liked the coach – I like Coach Hall,” MacBeth said. “I went to a lot of the camps; I just felt right here.”
“He just talks a lot about how our team chemistry is so different and we all vibe well together,” Cahill said.
Dixon agreed with Cahill.
“I think that since we all have that chemistry this year, maybe we can push a little farther and get where we want to be in conference,” she said.
Team chemistry is not a concept that only Dixon and Cahill are talking about, though. Lach has already experienced exceptional team chemistry at its finest.
“I feel like we get along really well,” Lach said. “The upperclassmen are really helpful in showing us what to do and just being role models for us and how to be a college softball player.”
Hall also has been able to see the upperclassmen being helpful towards the incoming freshmen.
“I think our upperclassmen do a great job of including them in the activities and mentoring them and helping them along with classes and travel and things like that,” he said. “They have been there, done that, so they know what it is like. We have got a great group of upperclassmen.”
Not only do some freshmen see that the upperclassmen are influential on the field, the whole team influences each other to be committed and stay motivated to do well on and off the field.
“It is just nice because our team is really focused with school,” Cahill said. “So if you surround yourself with people like that, you are going to be motivated, which is really cool.”
Motivation for all the newcomers can be seen through MacBeth’s situation. Out for the season with a torn ACL, she is planning on redshirting for this season, which will give her the chance to play an extra year. But despite this injury, she is still looking for positivity and to be able to motivate her teammates.
“I think that I can be a good, positive attitude in the dugout,” MacBeth said. “Obviously, I am not playing, but I can cheer people up and cheer on the team.”