The reigning champions of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) for softball started their season over the weekend in Tempe, Arizona. The Redhawks faced off against nationally ranked teams such as #5 Arizona, No. 14 Northwestern and No. 22 Arizona State. Though not a part of conference play, the weekend served as a learning opportunity for the team and allowed players to understand where they stand and where to go from there.
Shi Smith, a junior majoring in humanities for teaching with a specialization in IDLS and special education, and Carly Nance, a redshirt junior majoring in criminal justice, noted that the tournament served as a starting point for the long 2020 season.
“We didn’t get the outcomes we were looking for, but I think we learned a lot and saw a lot of good things,” Nance said. “A lot of really exciting things happened even though we didn’t get the runs to win the games like we needed to.”
Smith added that the weekend was more than just a loss.
“Technically we got the loss, but FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning, so we are learning and I thought it was cool how everybody got the opportunity to get in there,” Smith said. “We fought for every single thing. We tried to take care of business, we didn’t get the outcome, but we left exhausted from the field and that’s all you can do.”
This weekend also marked the first competition in red and black for some Redhawks. With four seniors graduating in 2019—almost half of the people on the field—it was an introduction for many first-years to the field. Smith was impressed with how everybody played, regardless of the unfamiliarity and new team atmosphere.
“You would just think that everybody on the field has been starting for four years. Personally, that’s how I feel everybody is on the team,” Smith said. “No matter what, when they get their opportunities they take it with them and run and they try their hardest. It’s 100% of what they are that day.”
After the first weekend of competition, Nance noted that the dynamic of the team is mature and that is going to come into play moving forward in the season.
“Nobody is afraid to step up into their role. We play for the good of the team, which is awesome to see. No matter what age they are, everybody is working towards the same goal,” she said.
Last year, the Redhawks cultivated a motto that pushed the team through ups and down: “Rise By Lifting Others,” commonly known to the team as the hashtag RBLO. While RBLO is still alive, Nance stated that the team has a new way to keep going.
“We have a new little saying this year that’s obviously going to be a secret. We’re still growing into it—it’s still kind of new,” Nance said. “We’re working through things that any team has to work through, but we’re all growing and working together and we’re just going to keep growing. There is a lot of upside from the weekend.”
Though their 2020 motto is a secret for now, one thing is not: the team wants to be there for each other and stay positive. Smith detailed that positivity and cheering for everyone will be key throughout the new season—which were the visible parts of RBLO that continued past the Redhawks’ iconic 2019.
After discussing goals for the team—which include winning back-to-back WAC titles and making it further in the NCAA tournament—Smith ended on a note of positivity regarding how the team can accomplish what they have in mind.
“On any given day, anybody can beat anyone. Whether both teams are at their best or worst, it doesn’t matter,” Smith said. “We have the skill—it’s just having the passion inside of us. All of us have that passion shining through each day. It’s about being a little bit better than you were the day before.”
The Seattle University Softball team looks to better themselves each day as they prepare to take on the Stanford Cardinals on Feb. 13 before heading to Stockton, California for the Libby Matson Tournament.