Softball swings for the conference championship

Jake Harris, Assistant Sports Editor

After coming up short of being crowned MSL champions in the past, the softball team took to the diamond this spring with the goal of winning  conference on their mind. The team currently stands at 9–2 and has outscored its opponents by a total of 73–27.

The group is led by seniors Caitlin Catino and Julia Camardo, who will both be attending the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater to continue their softball careers. The team will continue their season today, as they take on Elk Grove at home at 4:35 p.m.

This season, the team is more determined than ever to win the conference. After winning the MSL East the last two years, the team has fallen short of the MSL title both years by losing in the championship game to Conant and Barrington. However, the girls believe that this year will hold a different outcome.

“We’re set out on winning conference this year,” Catino said. “We’ve come so close the past two years, and we finally have the talent to win this year.”

The team is coached by Jamie Paul, who is entering her fifth season as the head coach after playing collegiate softball at Eastern Illinois University.

“Our whole lineup can hit the ball very well this year,” Paul said. “We’ve been successful at getting runners on base and then hitting them home.”

Despite the talented lineup, the team is aware that to be a champion it takes both determination and confidence. According to starting pitcher Camardo, the team is different this year because the team believes that they are the best team in the conference, which will lead to playing with confidence on game days.

While many key players from last year’s team return as seniors, the team maintains a variety of veteran and youth players such as sophomore third baseman Jasmine Avalos and junior catcher Emily Carnes. 

“I want to show the younger members how fun being on this team is,” Catino said. “All of the seniors work hard to make sure we pass the torch to the other players.”

A milestone to keep an eye on during this season will be Camardo’s pitching. Camardo set the school record for most strikeouts in a season her sophomore year with a total of 181. After falling short of that total last year with 141, Camardo is more determined than ever to surpass the record she set two seasons ago.

“I’m doing whatever it takes to beat my record this year,” Camardo said. “I’m playing with more confidence this year, so I believe I can do it.”

All the pieces are in place this year for the team to win the MSL. The mix of veteran and younger players will be something to keep an eye on for the team as they keep the championship in their sights.   

“The team has a lot of potential this year,” Paul said. “With the help of the leading seniors, we have the ability to play at a high level all season long.”