Eileen McCann is a junior outfielder on the Iona College softball team. This season, McCann will be taking Iona fans inside the world of not only an Iona softball player, but that of a student-athlete. After two short seasons, McCann has had a very successful career at Iona. A two-time MAAC Champion, McCann is a Mass Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations.
THE TIME IS NOW
Florida was great. Unfortunately the only positive things I seem to say when asked about my trip are, “It was warm” and “it was fun”. But I guess the sting of five losses and only two wins will have that kind of effect on a Gael. As I wrote in my last entry about the importance of productive losses, we have been doing our best not to let this recent blow to our record get the best of us and shake our confidence. After all, we did see a few good things come of us on the field this week including a couple of brilliant pitching performances by Sarah Jackson; Cari Anderson stepped up both behind the plate and in the box by laying down a game-winning sac bunt; and Angie Nieves proving that she can, in fact, run faster than a three-legged dog, as she moved from first to third on Cari’s bunt.
We scratched and clawed in a few of our at-bats to get a run or two across but, in most cases, it proved not enough to get the W. I learned most from our final game against North Florida. With runners in scoring position several times, we never managed to bare down, clutch up, and bring them around to score. In contrast, the North Florida hitters spent the first couple of innings just as we did, failing to capitalize on their opportunities to score. Their second time through their lineup, however, they adjusted. They fought in the box, won their at-bats, managed to scratch a few runs across the board and, ultimately, won the game. There was no big theatrical game winning home run or shot off the fence or landslide inning in which they piled on run after run, they simply went to work every inning, each and every one of them, every time they stepped in the box. It is in this regard that they were the better team on Sunday.
Coach Lapicki spoke to us more than once during the week about scouting reports. While we have a scouting report on our opponent, and know the strengths and weaknesses of these nine girls we face on the field, we often don’t give a second thought to the report that they have on us. Although we’re all too aware of our own weaknesses, we tend to overlook the fact that the other team is aware of them. A certain pitch that we never seem to hit or a certain defensive situation that causes us to tense up is information that is in the other team’s possession, and we have yet to make great strides towards changing that. We have yet to turn our weaknesses into our strengths, and thus make the opponent question everything they think they know about us. Opting for feel-good reps off the tee or front toss as opposed to facing pitches we have trouble with is serving to be counterproductive at this point, as we are putting forth at-bat after at-bat in which we don’t fight, or adjust, or get on base. The North Florida hitters were inspirational in this way, they swung the bat as if they would never swing it again; there was no denying that they would eventually win the fight, get on base, and win the game.
I know that we all saw this fight in them, and I can only hope that we all took the same feeling from it; we need to work harder. No one’s going to hand over a championship to us simply because we’ve won it two years in a row. Come MAAC play, we’re going to get fought harder than we’ve yet to see in my career as a Gael. This fact is something we must all quickly become aware of. The time to turn it around, make adjustments, and shift the momentum of our season is now.
Afterthought: I wrote this entry the morning of our games at Temple. As I stated that I hoped we all had a realization in the North Florida game, we proved just that in our double-header on Wednesday. We run-ruled the Owls two games in a row, taking the first one 8-0 and the second 10-1, both in six innings.
It was evident in our at bats and demeanor on the field that we refuse to let our performance in Florida have a negative impact on the rest of our season. Inning after inning, we strung hits together and brought runners home. We never got flat, or settled with the score. We pushed in every at bat to widen the deficit and end the game early. I am so proud of each and every one of my teammates for the way they played yesterday; Jodi Petersen and Alyssa Maiese with two beautiful long balls and Katie Jansson adjusting in the box throughout the day to ultimately get herself a shot off the left field fence.
The Temple series was a good, quality day to get under our belt before MAAC play, as it allowed us to know exactly what it takes to win not just one, but two games simultaneously.
LET US NEVER LET GO OF THIS FEELING, GAELS!