This year, the Bobcat softball roster is unique, with 10 freshmen and five sophomores out of a total of 19 players. So far the young team members have proven that they can perform well on the field.
The team’s top two hitters are freshman Ariel Edenfield, with a .500 batting average, and senior Caroline Snider, with a .480.
With a younger roster, head coach Jamie Grodecki emphasizes fundamentals, culture and philosophy.
“They [the team] keep me on my toes just because there is so much youth, and they are still learning themselves and each other,” Grodecki said. “They are still trying to work on their chemistry doing GC Softball. They definitely are doing a great job. You know when you have that many young people, you tend to make a few more mistakes, not necessarily just on the field. Sometimes it can be entertaining; sometimes it can be frustrating.”
Grodecki said a goal of the team is “a 3.5 and 35,” which means an average 3.5 team GPA and 35 game wins.
“If you win at least 35 [games] or more, you set yourself up for postseason play, and that’s our goal to be in the NCAA’s,” Grodecki said.
Grodecki said she is proud of her young team so far.
“They show up everyday, work hard, compete and push themselves and each other,” Grodecki said. “They are filling their shoes and getting better each day.”
The team’s defense is stronger overall than last year, Grodecki said, and they have been hitting well.
“Our pitching is coming around,” Grodecki said. “Every game, our skills get stronger and stronger.”
Grodecki said she thinks the team will be in a good place come March and April when conference play heats up.
When asked about what the team could improve on, Grodecki chuckled and said, “I think it’s really staying focused every pitch and making sure you’re competing for every out, every inning, just leaving it on the field. We are working on handling adversity, working together, trusting in each other.”
Grodecki said that standout players Caroline Snider, Ariel Edenfield and Haley Howell are who the team relies on the most consistently for RBI production. She added that players still must get on base, for RBI leaders to knock them in, so it is a team deal on offense.
Some of Edenfield’s biggest contributions to the team are her batting average, power hitting and playing solid defense at second base.
She is working on diving for more softballs defensively and stated, “I can get to more balls if I dive aggressively for them.”
Edenfield said her goal for the 2019 season is to win the Peach Belt Conference Tournament at the North Georgia College field. She tends to be a line drive hitter who rarely pops up.
Freshman Darby Pinkard is another important contributor to the Bobcat Softball team.
“I am an outfielder, so defense is definitely my strength,” Darby said.
Darby said she is working on hitting to the right side of the field and that her goal is always to contribute to the team when they need it most. She is also the designated team “beat bucket cheer girl,” responsible for “keeping the dugout excited throughout the whole game.”
Senior Caroline Snider is in her fourth and final season as a veteran Bobcat. Helping to lead younger players is a change for her from previous years. Snider was also voted Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week last week.
“It [having a roster full of younger players] is definitely interesting and is very fun,” Snider said. “I love getting to meet the new girls coming in, getting to be able to lead them and showing them the GC way.”
Snider emphasized that she wants to pass on the values that have been instilled in her to the younger players. She said she wants to lead them in the right direction, as she has been led.
“I have been showing them what the GC Athletic Program is all about, what our core values are and holding them accountable to their actions on and off the field,” Snider said. “Softball is a hard game, and I want to help pick them up when they might be going through slumps or not having their best days, and remind them not be to be hard on themselves.”
As a personal goal, Snider said she wants the team to get past regionals, because she’s never made it past regional play since she’s been at GC.
“I want to enjoy every moment of my last season and not take any moment for granted, as well as perform well and build relationships with these 10 new girls,” Snider said.
In addition to her batting and fielding capabilities, Snider is known for being very vocal as a leader on the field.
“Knowing your personal values and living up to them is incredibly important. At the end of the day I hope the girls can say I was a light to them.”
Photos courtesy of GC Sports Information