By Gavin Elliott – Contributing Writer

   UMF’s softball team recently completed their fall ball season with a tight-knit scrimmage that pitted Beaver against Beaver.

The 2017-2018 Softball Team (L to R)
Top row: Coach Kat McKay, Justice Merrill, Alyssa Dillan, Tasha DeRoche, Kailyn Hill, Brianna McGrath, Kayleigh Oberg, Brittany Dugal, and Kalyn Grover.
Bottom row: Melissa Veitch, Amber Grady, Callie Hammer, Margaret Fogarty, Erika Whitman, Taylor Burke, Amber Raymond, and Abby Shields.
Not shown: Kylee Atwood and Hope Faulkingham
(Photo courtesy of Kiana Thompson)

   After the scrimmage, UMF sophomore Alyssa Dillian said, “it was a great way to end the [fall ball] season because it was competitive, but also really fun.”

   This scrimmage was just one of several ways to help the team bond. According to second-year Head Coach Kat McKay, “the purpose of fall ball is to bring together a group of people, some who have never met or played together, put them on the same page, and start to build unity in what everyone already has knowledge of.”

   This especially benefits freshmen who have never had a chance to play with the softball team before. “I felt like a part of the team…I got to understand my new team’s personality,” said Callie Hammer, a UMF freshman.  

   UMF sophomore Amber Grady echoed her team’s sentiments. “It was definitely a learning experience for all of us.” Along with building skill and communication with the team, the players also learned about one another on a personal level.

   Beginning last year, the softball team went on its second annual team bonding trip. This year, the Beavers went camping in Avon, Maine for one night.

   “Last year we went canoeing,” said McKay. “It’s about getting the girls out of their comfort zones because they finally start to laugh together and let their guard down.”  

   Reiterating Coach McKay’s comment, Grady said, “[the camping trip] went really well, we all got to know everyone and see each other come out of our shells.”

   Reminiscing about the trip, Erika Whitman, a UMF sophomore, looked at her teammates and laughed, saying she “loved when we sat around the campfire and bonded over pizza and embarrassing stories.”

   Smiling and chuckling at Whitman’s comment, UMF sophomore Kalyn Grover added, “my favorite part was definitely watching the sunrise with my teammates,” said Grover.  

   After a two month break, the team will resume their hard work and practice at the start of the new year, followed by a trip to Clermont, Florida to compete in the 2018 Spring Games in March. Here, the Beavers will play a variety of teams from all over the U.S..

   At the Spring Games, the team will not only be together on the field, but also staying together for an entire week. “I’m looking forward to [the Spring Games], being with my team again and hanging out,” said Dillian. “[We] really bond in Florida when [we] get to live together and get our first chance to play against others with our new team.”

   Last year in regular season, the team’s only goal was to beat the previous year’s number of wins. However, the team “found so much success, it opened some of the other team’s eyes to UMF being a contender,” said McKay.

   Looking forward to the upcoming season, Dillian said, “it will take some work to get to where we left off last season, but I think we are capable of repeating what we did last year, even with our young team.”

   Although there is uncertainty about how this year’s team will perform in the spring season, one thing is clear: the team is looking forward to picking up their gloves and bats to prove themselves on the field once again.

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