The Miami Dade College women’s softball team (7-9) is off to a rocky start, a year after capturing the 2010 national championship.
With the loss of players like pitcher Erika Bennett, who was 26-2 last year, the MDC softball team is counting heavily on younger players this year.
“Sometimes when you lose games you can learn and benefit from them,” Lady Sharks Head Coach Carlos Caro said. “This game is about failure and how you deal with it. We are really young and most of the time we have seven freshmen on the field.”
Last year’s team sported a .359 batting average; this year’s squad has a .313 batting average.
Freshman outfielder Cynthia Takahashi leads the team with 12 RBI followed by sophomore outfielder Veronika Fukunishi, who has 11 RBI.
But power has been an issue. Sophomore first baseman Kristen Exposito provided the power hitting with 12 home runs last year. This year, she has yet to hit a home run.
Freshman pitcher Rachel Meagley, like many of her teammates, said she feels the pressure of being the defending national champion.
“I was really nervous because I know how much these games mean,” Meagley said.
“Mainly it was because of last year’s record and always having to outscore our opponents.”
The team has also dealt with several close defeats. On two occasions, the losses were a result of walk-off home runs in the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs, Caro said.
Fukunishi, the team captain, said everyone must contribute for the team to turn things around.
“It’s not just me, they are nine players,” Fukunishi said. “I need eight more to play.”