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The Paw Print

Pitch perfect: Softball surmounts expectations

Pitch+perfect%3A+Softball+surmounts+expectations
Jennifer Godwin-Minto

Something has changed within the softball team this year. A disappointing 2022-23 season left the Panthers in sixth place in the Prep League, finishing with a 5-11 overall record. However, this season, the softball team has turned that subpar 30% win rate into a far stronger 70% win rate, having won seven of 10 games this season and showing no signs of slowing down.

The Panthers’ recent success can be attributed to a few key factors. For starters, anyone who has been to a game this season would note their high energy. For all seven innings, various chants ring from the dugout as teammates encourage one another. Sophomore Olivia Asper de Tyson thinks the team’s supportive dynamic has been one of the main differences from last year, changing the team for the better.

“We never tear each other down, and we constantly pick each other up. We all are very connected and the team has become a sisterhood that I am proud to be a part of,” she said.

The encouragement is working, as the Panthers have been on a tear, winning four of their games by ten or more runs, with an outstanding team performance coming in a 23-0 blowout over Brentwood High School on Thursday, Feb. 29.

These victories emphasize another one of the team’s strengths: their offense. In the games that they’ve won, the Panthers have scored a combined 91 runs, an average of over ten runs per win, which has been achieved through their balance of contact, power hitting and base running.

On the offense, sophomore Eila Chan is leading the charge, boasting an impressive .516 batting average and .545 on-base percentage as well as leading the team in hits with 16 at the time of publishing. Sophomore Ellery Engstrom is hitting it out of the park power-wise, leading the team in home runs with three, which places her fifth in all of Division VII play, and RBIs with 16. On the base paths, freshman Brynn Connolly has been tearing it up, swiping 13 bags, which places her tenth in California, according to maxpreps.com.

Although the offense is undoubtedly impressive, as the saying goes, defense wins games. The pitching staff, led by Engstrom and freshman Amelia Shih, has been nothing short of impressive. The team has a cumulative earned run average of just 2.85, which is highlighted by Shih’s ace-like 2.10 ERA in 26.2 innings pitched. Additionally, several players, including Engstrom and Connolly, have been fielding at a perfect 1.000 percent.

The team, however, has faced some adversity while playing tougher teams, losing a hard-fought game 4-8 against Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy on March 1st and falling short 1-12 on March 8 against Providence, their only league game so far.

Chan said that the team’s main goal is to win Prep League and hopefully make a run into the CIF playoffs. Although the team will continue to face challenging opponents as they move into league games, with the momentum they have, it is safe to assume that these goals are very much achievable.

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About the Contributor
Oliver Marks, Assistant Sports Editor
Grade: 10 Years on Staff: 2 Fun Fact: I love to cook! Favorite Movie: The Banshees of Inisherind
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