Eight Questions with SFU softball

Asking sophomore Rebecca Kirkpatrick and junior Lauren Schwartz questions about their return to the field

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SFU softball players Rebecca Kirkpatrick and Lauren Schwartz pose with a bat and glove in uniform on the field.
SFU’s sophomore outfielder and junior infielder take a trip down memory lane to reflect on their style of play and most memorable tournaments. Photo: Gudrun Wai-Gunnarsson / The Peak

By: Kelly Chia, Staff Writer

On February 18, the SFU softball team is heading to Arizona to play five games in the Cactus Classic tournament. They are entering the tournament ranked fifth out of seven teams in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. After welcoming a group of nine freshmen and a transfer pitcher in January of 2021, the team is raring to compete together after opting out of last season. 

The Peak was able to get to know two SFU softball members: Rebecca Kirkpatrick and Lauren Schwartz. Kirkpatrick majors in Criminology with a minor in Physical Geography and GIS systems, and is studying for her Forensic Sciences certificate. Meanwhile, Schwartz is among the newcoming class, transferring from Bellevue College in Washington. She has a double minor in English and Kinesiology.

P: What do you like most about the culture of softball competitively?

K: I like how every game is different. One person could be dominant in one game, and it could be a completely different person [the next].

In one game, it could be a pitcher’s duel where it’s a low-scoring game, and then all of a sudden it could be a 10–10 ball game, so it can flip very easily.

Schwartz laughed.

S: Yeah, I guess that’s both a pro and a con in some ways.

I like how relaxed it is, but then the moments of excitement are super exciting. Especially playing outfield, you are mostly standing around, but when you have to make a play, it’s super important.

 

P: Is there a misconception about softball that you’d like to clear up?

S: There’s always the baseball/softball comparison everyone makes. I don’t know, at this point, I’d say they’re hard in different ways.

K: People think baseball and softball are really slow sports, so they must not be as physically exhausting. But they are very physically exhausting! We play double headers, so we can be out in the field for twelve hours.

 

P: What’s your most memorable moment as a softball athlete competing in tournaments?

S: My first thought would be, in my last season of club softball, we won provincials. We were down seven-nothing in the last inning, and we came back and won it. That’s always been a memorable one for me

K: For me, it would be from my freshman year here. Six of us that are on the team right now played in something called the Canada Cup. We ended up playing junior team Chinese-Taipei in the finals, and we ended up winning. It was pretty cool because Team Canada and Team USA were watching us.

 

P: What do you think your strengths are as players?

S: One thing I can always control is my energy on the field. I guess that would be a strength — no matter how I’m playing, I try to keep that energy up. 

K: My strength is more of the mental side of the game: I know a lot of strategy plays, so I bring more of the mental aspect of the game.

 

P: What do you do to feel ready beforehand?

S: Music keeps us all loose.

K: Baseball and softball are actually really superstitious sports. If you’re doing well, you have to put your bat in the same position.

 

P: Is there a particular superstition around something that you [can’t] do?

S: Foul line.

K: Yeah, you can’t step on it. You always have to hop over it. Honestly!

 

P: What seniors have left the team? How has that affected you?

S: We had two important seniors leave last year: Amanda Janes and Kate Fergusson. They contributed a lot — Amanda especially was a huge leader on the team. I literally only knew her for four months, but you could tell she was really prominent on the field. We miss that a lot, but it was only two people. With the incoming freshmen, we have a lot of talent!

S: I’m really excited to see our freshmen play. I think they’re going to have a lot of success this year. Our sophomore class, too, [who] didn’t get to play last year. Our pitcher has been doing a lot of good things in practice.

 

P: Do you have any advice for students wanting to play softball in university?

K: You have to work harder than anyone else, and want it more than anyone else. Even if you aren’t the best on your team, or you are the best on your team and aren’t getting noticed, you have to put yourself out there. Make contacts and go talk to people. A lot of good athletes, especially undersized athletes, get [overlooked] easily, so you have to be the one winning for yourself.

You can check out the softball team play their first home game of the season against Central Washington on February 26.