For head coach Paige Smith, the fall softball season is all about finding areas to improve in. It presents an opportunity to see what kind of team she will have come springtime.
Sept. 18 marked the beginning of the fall season for the Seton Hall softball team, as it played a doubleheader against Rider and Fordham. The day did not go as planned for the Pirates, pointedly in a 12-0 loss to the Rams of Fordham. Smith knows that there will be a learning curve at this time of year.
“The fall is all about learning what we have to get better at and we saw a lot of things that we need to get better at,” Smith said. “We have certain things we want to accomplish and I think some people did accomplish those goals and some people fell a little short.”
Though Smith knows that the fall is more about practice and improvement and less about wins and losses, her desire to win still remains evident.
“As a coach, you want to play the fall like it’s practice because you need to get everybody their reps in. At the same time, I constantly want to win because that’s who we are as coaches.”
Smith mentioned the youth of her team, which has seven members of the sophomore class. Conversely, the team also has six seniors, each of whom could be turned to for leadership on this young team. Smith wants to take this time to find that one individual to lead her team moving forward.
“Right now, we’re still looking for a leader on our team,” Smith said. “We do have people with leadership qualities, but we don’t have any one voice to follow right now except for our coaching staff. I think that the fall is going to help that.”
Smith named players whom she believes could fulfill this role, such as senior pitcher Lauren Fischer and sophomore pitcher Chrisa Head, as well as third baseman Alexis Walkden. Walkden, a junior, was an offensive force last season for the Pirates, hitting .372 with eight home runs in 54 games. Fischer made 11 appearances in the circle before suffering a season-ending injury, while Head put up a 3.80 ERA in 108.2 innings in her freshman year.
After the Seton Hall Softball Alumni Game next Saturday, the Pirates will return to action with a doubleheader against Division II opponent Caldwell on Oct. 2. After this, the Pirates will head to Hempstead, N.Y., for a doubleheader on Oct. 8 against Iona and Hofstra, two teams that beat the Pirates last season. The Pirates will then wrap up the fall season with intersquad games on Oct. 22 and 23.
As the fall season continues, Coach Smith has one thing on her mind as she prepares her team for spring.
“We need to get better every day.”
Matt Ambrose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mambrose97.