Youngsters rise for UNCW softball

McLeod Brown | Sports Editor

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The UNCW softball season has had its share of peaks and valleys. But members of the team are confident their brightest days are ahead of them.

With only seven upperclassmen on the roster, the Seahawks have experienced the growing pains expected from a young club. The squad currently sits with a record of 17-22, including a CAA-worst 4-11 record. The team has lost seven of its last nine contests.

However, that isn’t to say the club has not experienced its positives this season.

Freshman captain Sarah Davis has emerged as arguably the team’s biggest threat both, on the mound and at the plate. Davis currently leads the team in batting average, hits, and RBIs, while also sporting a 3.35 ERA at pitcher.

Davis is co-captain for the team along with sophomores Nella Chamblee and Lauren Moore, highlighting the team’s youthfulness.  Moore and Chamblee both own batting averages of .230 and .212, respectively.

Aside from what their record may show, Coach Kristy North is confident the product on the field will begin to take shape sooner rather than later.

“It being my third year here, I felt as though this team was the best group of young women we’ve put on the field since I’ve been here,” Norton said. “We had a really strong recruiting class, bringing in our starting shortstop, one of our starting pitchers, so that was exciting. So expectations were to make the conference tournament and, once you make the conference tournament, in the CAA anything can be done.”

The club was predicted to finish seventh out of eighth in the league, a common point of motivation for the team throughout the year. The team has been able to take series victories over Towson and ECU this year, while also notching a win over conference-rival Drexel.

The recent slump hasn’t done anything to deter the team from that early season success.

“We’re definitely looking to go back to how we were at the beginning of the season where we’re just playing for fun instead of being so uptight,” Norton said. “I think starting conference kind of made everyone more uptight, but now we’re just looking to compete more in practice, compete more on the field, and get back to having fun.”

The Seahawks have two conference series left in the year before the CAA tournament is set to kick off on May 6th. Whether they’re able to perform up to par at the tourney is yet to be seen. Nevertheless, optimism is present throughout the team and beyond for future seasons.

“You look at our team now and I’ve kind of been going over returners versus starters lost and what not,” Davis said. “We actually have only two players that are consistently in our lineup that played last year at the position they’re playing at this year. We’re constantly building for the future, because ultimately we are a young team. That’s what is fun. The youngsters are resilient, and they want to win. That starts with our captains and we have a freshman and two sophomore captains. They’re resilient, they’re a passionate group and they’re going to get better.”