For the second straight year, the Miami Dade College softball team endured a 30-loss season.
The Lady Sharks finished with an overall record of 15-30 and 8-11 in Southern Conference play and failed to qualify for the conference tournament, losing three of their last four games.
Fielding a team almost entirely composed of freshman, the Lady Sharks never seemed to find their groove.
“I think our season didn’t go as well as we would’ve hoped. We didn’t come out where we wanted to and we lost a lot of games we should have won,” said sophomore pitcher Emma Maitland. “But we had a team of freshman and I have high hopes for the girls next year.”
Maitland did her part as the Lady Sharks’ only sophomore, leading the team with a 2.64 earned run average and 80 strikeouts.
Through the onslaught of losses the Lady Sharks suffered through, the underlying message was building for next year.
“They’ll have much more experience and more knowledge of the game, so that will be a huge advantage for them,” Maitland said. “I think they have the potential to do great things next year.”
Much like the beginning of the now-formidable Philadelphia 76ers, the Lady Sharks will have to endure their own version of “The Process.”
As for now, the Lady Sharks have plenty of room for improvement.
Plagued by a lack of timely hitting, the Lady Sharks were only able to muster 131 runs batted in.
“I think our biggest weakness was not being able to hit when we needed to,” said freshman pitcher Tiffany Dodson. “We have some unbelievable hitters on our team, but sometimes when we need those hits, we can’t seem to get them.”
The Lady Sharks were also strike-out prone, enduring 174 K’s.
Despite the bleak season, they did not let the losing affect their effort on the field.
One of the bright spots was shortstop Melissa Mayeux. She boasted a team-leading .371 batting average, with eight home runs and 27 runs batted in.
Another key improvement for the Lady Sharks was team chemistry.
“We had each other’s backs and we’re there for each other,” Dodson said. “During the games, if one of the girls is down, we all try to help her move on and try to get her back up and say things like ‘you’ll get the next out or next time up to bat you’ll get a hit.’”
They hope to use that unity to improve on the field next year.
“I know that next year we will be a lot stronger and our chances will be a lot better,” said Lady Sharks head coach Gina De Agüero. “Being a younger team this season, we had to build from the ground up. I feel that next season we will just have to implement what we learned this season.”