As the 2017 season begins, the only thing on the minds of the Lady Bisons softball team is sticking to the process. The Lady Bisons were picked third in the conference overall, and head coach Phil Berry said they are focusing on one game at a time, starting on Feb. 4, instead of worrying about the ending outcome.
“Sticking to the process means if you get tied up into outcomes, in a game where you fail a lot, then it is very hard to handle this game,” Berry said. “We feel like if we add a whole lot of processes together, and that every day is just a little bit better, outcomes tend to take care of themselves. So I think you will find from our players that they understand that we have to stick to the process and if we do, the outcome will be okay whatever it is.”
The Lady Bisons starting lineup for this coming season are all returning players from the past year, with the exception of graduate Kinsey Beck at second base. With the help of the coaching staff which includes new assistant coach, Chanin Naudin, the team has shown that their preseason work ethic and determination is something they are proud of.
“Chanin has been a great addition to our staff, from graduate assistant in the 2016 season to assistant coach this year,” Berry said. “She brings a lot of energy every day and a high-level of collegiate experience from the University of Kansas as well as international experience to our roster, and I think our players respect that.”
With the addition of seven new players this past fall, the Lady Bisons have already shown the unity on and off the field, spending time together outside of practice. The whole team has been involved with various community service projects as well as taking a group trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to help tear down houses that had been destroyed by flooding. Berry emphasizes the growth of each player in the sport as well as in their personal lives.
“Coach Berry keeps us on track and our mindset on things that we should be focusing on like how important that it is for us to put God first,” sophomore pitcher Kelly Beth Earnest said. “He implements that into everything we do like practices, games, or even conversations as a team.”
With an overall record of 37 wins and 24 loses in the 2016 season, the Lady Bisons will try and surpass the projected finish that has been set for them in the 2017 season.
“We want to be better every year, and that is already a better projection than last year,” Naudin said. “Last year we just missed post season and the teams ahead of us we just lost to, so it makes perfect sense that we are placed third.”
The season begins with the Lady Bisons playing against Missouri University of Science and Technology, on Feb. 4.
“Everyone on the team has a different value,” sophomore outfielder Peyton Mills said. “Junior Kimmy Hendricks is a really great catcher and vocal leader while senior Hannah Johnston is a great pitcher, but leads by example. Then you have other members of the team who are good hitters and work hard. Everyone has a different value and everyone shows each other how to work together as a unit.