Softball awaits decision on Postseason while players earn recognition

Harlee Carpenter

Harlee Carpenter

Gabriel Strasbaugh, Staff Reporter

Five members of the Wildcat softball team were selected to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-GNAC squad. Some players are not only leading their team in stats but leading all of Division II in the process. Sophomore infielder Harlee Carpenter and senior outfield Theresa Moyle are two of these players earning a First Team All-GNAC honors unanimous selection. 

“It’s never really my goal to try [to] win awards or anything,” Carpenter said, “it’s not something I think about during the season. But it is nice to get that recognition at the end in the GNAC.” 

Carpenter leads all of Division II with seven triples this season batting .356. Carpenter said the competition of the GNAC is what makes her selection even more memorable to her career. 

“It’s a super competitive conference with some really talented players,” Carpenter said. “I’m really happy for my teammates as well. They are very deserving.”

Head Coach Alison Mitchell

Head Coach Alison Mitchell said it was great to be able to see her team not miss a beat after the loss of their 2020 season.

“I know how hard our team works and how hard we push them and all the players experience so many ups and downs through the season, that to be able to see a few of them get recognized, was huge for me,” Mitchell said. “I am very pumped for all of them. 

Mitchell said their performance this season is evidence of the type of character and chemistry the players share together.  

“It was a testament of how hard they are willing to work and do it when no one is looking,” Mitchell said. “It’s really putting in the time on their own time to make things happen for them and you don’t always get to see that in everyday life of just doing the right thing and good things will happen. This is just a small little microcosm of just doing the right things when no ones paying attention and these kind of good things keep happening.”

The diversity of the stars on the team ranges from freshmen to seniors. This range of talent is something that Mitchell said the coaches preach to the players. 

“In my mind when you’re playing on a team, age is just a number and it has nothing to do with anything else,” Mitchell said. “There’s players who have more experience on the team than others, they’ve been around a bit more. At the end of the day it’s what you do to help your team and it doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or a senior.”

Putting the team first according to Mitchell is a result of the work on their own time. 

“Like I said, it’s the work you’re putting in when no one is paying attention,” Mitchell said. “It’s, are you learning, are you taking your moment and running with it? What are you doing with your opportunities? I love seeing multi grade levels and I love seeing the diversity in the positions we get.”

The Wildcats finished the regular season as the No. 2 seed in the GNAC with a 9-7 record. With a rise in positive COVID cases, the team was forced to suspend operations for the rest of the season prior to Sunday’s NCAA postseason selection. This will decide whether the Wildcats’ season will continue or remain history.

Suspension of operations for most on the team was a decision that was not taken too kindly. Mitchell came to the defense of her players and said that it was more frustrating shutting down for a second straight season.

“To get that news when you take second in conference after you dealt with it once and our players did nothing wrong,” Mitchell said. “It was a testament to the times we live in now and just the fact that you can pick this up anytime anywhere. To get that news was heartbreaking.”

Mitchell said the team’s emotions were high when they heard the decision.

“When I had to tell the team, there was a lot of tears, especially from the seniors,” Mitchell said. “I teared up a bit too. But when we found out there was still a chance, it was like the movie dumb and dumber right; so, you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

Theresa Moyle

The Wildcats’ individual performances from this season, if selected, will serve them well in the postseason. Theresa Moyle said her stellar performance this season at the plate in ways gives her more motivation on defense, a key aspect the team needs come playoff time.

“During the beginning of the season I was hitting really well, and I think I kind of build off my hitting that helps my defense as well because it boosts my confidence,” Moyle said. “I kind of ride that high, that confidence. Strong hitting is what helps me.”

Moyle sits top five in the GNAC and leads the Wildcats batting .380, with four home runs, and along with 31 runs driven in. While being second in the GNAC in triples along with sixth in stolen bases and slugging percentage, it was no wonder why Moyle was a unanimous selection for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-West Region First Team.

Theresa Moyle

“Don’t take any moment for granted and just enjoy every moment,” Moyle said. “That’s what I did this year for my last year.”

Moyle said the team is one that stands together in not letting the moment overtake their focus.

“Something that we say on the team is, don’t make the moment bigger than it is. We have to stick to the reason why you’re playing the sport that you love,” Moyle said.

The moment that does loom large for the team comes Sunday night, May 15, at 7 p.m. whether the team will suit up again for the 2021 season.