By Hadley Montgomery
Photo courtesy of sewaneetigers.com
The 2015-16 Sewanee Softball season began this year with a strong comeback under new head coach Merritt Yackey. After ending the 2015 season on a less than ideal note, the team members knew something had to change. Caroline Holmes (C’17) recounts her experience as a sophomore on the team by saying, “I joined after hearing that the team had [only] five girls… To be honest, the number of girls who came out to play last season speaks to the community we have here at Sewanee. These girls were willing to try their hand at a new sport just so that their friends would have the joy to continue playing the game that they loved.” The season was full of many hardships, but the hard work paid off for a remarkable 2016 season.
Merritt Yackey, the new head coach, and assistant coaches Michelle Thibodeaux and Mike Murrah have played a huge part in this success. This year, the team has ten players, six of whom are freshman. Sara Burklin (C’16) says, “This program has been struggling for many years. Under the new leadership of Coach Yackey and Coach Thibodeaux, we are finally making improvements needed to work hard and become a competitor in the conference. These recent wins have been the payoff for our hard work and I’m excited to see what the rest of the season holds.”
Over Spring Break, the team played tournaments at Trinity, Christendom, and Sweet Briar, resulting in five wins. Sewanee softball won its first two games of the season against Trinity in Washington, D.C. on March 16. Miranda Townsend (C’19) earned her first career win after allowing only one run and a hit in five innings. Townsend recalls, “Before we played Trinity, Coach discussed how we were going to change the culture of Sewanee softball. That is exactly what we were striving to achieve in our first win against Trinity.”
During the game against Sweet Briar on March 19, the Sewanee softball team set a new school and conference record for runs scored. The mighty Tigers were down by eight runs after two innings, but came back to score a total of 34 runs throughout the game. Rachel Hoffman (C’19) led the offense with five runs scored, noting, “We all pulled together and decided that we weren’t going to lose the game no matter how many runs we had to score, everyone did their job.”
On their experience over the break, Holmes commented, “During our Spring Break games, Coach Yackey would start each game by stating that it is the start of a new culture for Sewanee Softball. I believe that is the number one point we learned over the break. It is a new culture, a new day for Sewanee Softball. The scoreboard doesn’t hold as much weight when we compete to the best of our abilities.” By bringing together the team’s hard work and talent, Coach Yackey has begun to establish a strong team. Come out and support the Sewanee softball team during their last two home games on April 16 and 17.