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Coach A's Weekly Newsletter

May 19, 2021

Our season has come to an end.
It's important to me that I start this newsletter off by mentioning the disappointment we have with not being a postseason team. We should be preparing for postseason games right now, but we didn't make it happen.
I won't rant for too long, but I do feel like sharing some things with you. Last year, we were on a roll with a very young team and things got cut short because of COVID. This year, we started the same way. Lots of young players and lots of winning.
As we entered the Pac-12 season, I felt we were more prepared than I had expected we would be. I say that because we had less COVID interruptions than I thought, and we were staying relatively healthy through the preseason. But by the second weekend of conference play, our starting second baseman and #4 hitter was injured, and she struggled getting consistently back into our lineup due to health protocols the rest of the year.
When you are losing games against Top 10 teams by a run or two, having your #4 hitter missing from your lineup is a big deal. I hoped it wouldn't have interfered so much as it did, but we didn't recover well, and that is on us.
We had a lot of movement within our lineup trying to find ways to win some of those close ones. Ultimately, we couldn't find a way to win enough of the Pac-12 games to crack into the NCAA bracket.
We did have a major highlight because of the injury, though. We moved Haley Denning back into the infield and WOW, was she stellar. The first game we moved her in to shortstop from left field, we beat Cal Berkeley by a run and the game ended on a ball hit hard up the middle with the bases loaded that Denning snagged to end the game.
I want to be sure you all know that we are ready to move on. We are already getting excited about the future. Exit meetings are done and there are a lot of motivated players in our clubhouse. No one is satisfied, and the work for next season has already begun.
On to the good news section of the newsletter: We have already gotten some post season awards...both Denning and Ellessa Bonstrom earned Pac-12 honors, and they are up for all-region awards. A few others on the team are up for all-region as well. We have so many that qualify in the Utility categories this year because of the constant movement in the lineup during the second half of the season. I'm hoping to announce some more award winners soon!
More good news: We have just announced a commitment from Katie Faulk to stay for her COVID 5th-year next season. More good news, she is the only one that will be exhausting her eligibility in the '22 season, so like I said, we have a bunch of young players out there getting the experience they need to help us win for the next several years!
We also have recruiting opening up soon. It's exciting to think of getting back out to the fields again. We haven't been out watching athletes compete since the fall of 2019 because of the mandatory dead period for all sports. That's over a year and a half! So we are scheduling several recruiting trips for this summer and throughout the fall. Time to pound the pavement to set this team up for the future!
So, as we wrap up the season and clean out the lockers, I just want to say thanks for following along with us for the journey. The season had a lot of the "normal" ups and downs that go along with sport, but it was all of the "abnormal" things of 2020/2021 that were tough.
Not being "in-person" for class and not having the bonding time with the team because of protocols, made us realize how much of an impact those things can have on teams. Especially OUR team. We live and die by some of that stuff. These young ladies that I get to coach enjoy each other and the social side of college as much as playing softball games. Without those things, it just wasn't the same kind of year.
We look forward to the fall so we can get back to work. As of right now, we will have in-person classes available and football games to attend which so far sounds like a "normal" fall semester! Sounds AWESOME!
When the team is back, I'll send out another newsletter. Until then, enjoy your summer and as always....

Coach A