SFU softball ready for upcoming challenges

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Clan softball looks to build on past triumphs and defeats

By Mehdi Rahnama
Image courtsey of SFU Athletics

The Simon Fraser Clan softball team lost their last pre-season match against the UBC Thunderbirds before the starting of their conference games. It was the first ever win by the Thunderbirds over the Clan in a softball game. On paper, the Clan’s 4–9 pre-conference record, did nothing to suggest what the Clan was capable of. Now, every defeat seems to be a surprise.

As soon as the season started, the Clan’s dominance became more and more apparent. First it was a seven-game winning streak, which included a thrashing of Montana State Billings in the season opener and the double header over Central Washington University. Then came the Red Lion pitcher of the week award for Cara Lukawesky, reaffirming her level of performance — she was also named Red Lion Pitcher of the
season last year.

There’s more, but first a break from greatness: a short dip in form came on Clan’s road trip, during which they suffered three defeats out of four, which ended an impressive winning streak. “We were absolutely flat in the first game, offensively and defensively” as coach Renney described it.

But even during a negative run, the Clan was able to bring some good news to the camp, as Renney also mentioned Kelsie Hawkins’ “outstanding pitching” in the second game,” which was a win against Western Oregon University. Hawkins was named Red Lion co-pitcher of the week in the third week of March.

The dismal showing for Clan softball in their first games away from home may have been a wake-up call and a needed shock to any high-flying team’s system. But it’s also a case of absent key players and lack of experience in the coming generation of Clan softball.

The few defeats, no matter how bad the scores, may have been wins for the future of softball at SFU. Most starters this season are seniors, from which the majority is playing their last season with the Clan. While that experience makes Clan softball a force in the GNAC, it also makes what comes after this season an interesting prospect.

Before the next season though, there is this season, and it’s a big one. The team will head to California for the Mizuno Tournament of Champions before they get their chance at redemption against UBC.

Then it’s back to conference games and a busy schedule for the rest of April. Match-ups against Saint Martin University (currently second in GNAC standings) and Western Oregon University (currently third), are highlights of conference games during April. It’s a matter of staying confident and remaining focused to make the top four, which would qualify them for a playoff berth. This was the team’s goal from the start, and now it is within their reach.

Expectations have been high from day one, and they will be even higher for home games, so when the Clan take on their arch rivals at home on April 20 and 21, everyone needs to be in top form. It’s a race to the finish line, and it’s a sprint, not a marathon. The Clan are in the pole position.