The University of Indianapolis’ Softball Team opened their season last weekend at the Blue Ridge Battle tournament in Owensboro, Kentucky. The Hounds walked away with one win and one loss before the remainder of the tournament was rained out, according to UIndy Athletics. This is the first time the team has played since their season was abruptly canceled last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Softball Head Coach Melissa Frost said her players worked hard during the long offseason — physically, mentally and emotionally.
“This team has been put to the test. Our season was cut short in the middle of the year last year and that takes a toll on everybody. But I feel like this team is going to come back stronger than ever, and it’s just great to see,” Frost said.
The team shares the same eagerness to return to play as well, according to senior pitcher Hallie Waters. She said she anticipates the beginning of the season as the team displays a lot of talent.
“[There’s] a lot of anticipation, excitement and really high expectations. I think we’re going to make a statement and we’re going to make it loud, so I’m really looking forward to kicking it off,” Waters said.
Waters finished the season with a 1.10 earned run average last season and currently has a 1.83 ERA after two games, according to UIndy Athletics. Waters said her role as a pitcher is to focus on keeping the runs low so the rest of her team can focus on scoring at the plate. However, Waters is only one of the team’s many returning players.
“Our depth is so much deeper than it ever has been,” Frost said. “I’ve said that Coach [Ben] Farrell and I are going to have some really tough decisions when it comes to who our nine are because … we really have a lot of options and I don’t feel like we have to rely heavily on two or three players.”
This talent has revealed itself in the team’s National Fastpitch Coaches Association preseason ranking. UIndy has moved steadily up the ranks to No. 17 in the nation, progressing from No. 21 at the end of January and No. 19 in mid-February, according to UIndy Athletics.
Frost said their main goal is the same as always: to win a national championship. However, the team also places a strong focus on individual goals as well, such as GPA and mental toughness, according to Frost. She said the team currently has a cumulative 3.78 GPA, which put them at one of the highest for the 23 varsity sports, according to UIndy Athletics.
Waters said that each player on the team is committed to the goal of making it to the World Series as well. She said her and her teammates all have a similar mindset and work well together.
“The team shares the same goals. We want to make it to the World Series when it’s all said and done,” Waters said. “I think if we can play to our potential every single time that we step on the field … we’re going to achieve that. Our goals are very aligned and this team is very selfless. At the end of the season, we all just want to be in one spot, and that’s at the World Series.”