By Luke Mich
The Bearcat softball team ended its season recently, placing in the middle of the standings at the conclusion of the regular season. Players Riley Assalone and Celia Knappenberger discussed the abnormalities of the spring 2021 season.
“Normally we would have non-conference games to lengthen our schedule and give us a few extra games to get us ready for playoffs,” Assalone, a senior psychology major, said. “We (had) no non-conference games this year.”
Knappenberger, a junior integrated science, noted that because of having no out-of-conference games, the team played two doubleheaders against each conference opponent, while in prior seasons they only played one doubleheader.
“One [doubleheader] was on the road and one was at home. The second time we played them it counted towards our [conference] record,” Knappenberger added.
Another thing that changed: no preseason games. While Assalone mentioned that the team played scrimmages last fall, they did not have the spring preseason games as is usual prior to each season.
“We normally go on our spring break to Florida to play eight preseason games. This season we did not get to,” Assalone said.
Due to the two-week delayed start of the semester, the start of practices in the spring also started two weeks later than usual. Practices were constant during the spring, said Head Coach Nicole Karr.
“We practice five to six days per week depending on games. At practices we have had to wear masks the entire time but other than that it has been pretty much the same,” Karr said.
To abide by COVID-19 guidelines, Karr said that 25% of the team was tested every two weeks.
Unfortunately, a couple of games got cancelled and were unable to be made up due to COVID-19-related issues.
“We had a game cancelled at the beginning of the season due to rain. Games that were cancelled were not made up,” Assalone explained.
The most impactful games that were cancelled this past season came at the end of the regular season.
“Because of positive cases on the team, we didn’t play the last two games,” Knappenberger said.
“The last two doubleheaders and us being eligible for playoffs were cancelled due to COVID,” Karr said. “Because it was the last week of the season, there wasn’t any time to make up the doubleheaders.”
While the team’s season ended prematurely, the squad still strung together some solid results, beating the number one team in the conference the day before the shelter-in-place took effect.