Despite ending the season with their first winning record in five years—25-23 and 12-8 in the Southern Conference—the Lady Sharks softball team found themselves once again missing out on the postseason.
It was the third straight year the Lady Sharks did not qualify for the state tournament.
Although the Lady Sharks were a couple of wins from making the tournament, they showed great improvement this season. They lost a combined 60 games the previous two seasons. And they started the season 5-13 before winning 20 of their last 30 games.
Lady Sharks head softball coach Gina De Agüero said she never lost faith in her team.
“I give the team 100% at practices and during games, and my office is always open for them.” De Agüero said. “I believe when we beat South Florida State College and Polk State College in the same weekend, the team saw they could win. This was right before conference play began, so it was a good time to turn our season around.”
Despite the season coming to an end, players like freshman infielder Dekoda Johnson have high hopes for the team’s potential next season. Johnson finished the season with a .321 batting average, five home runs, 26 RBI and 15 stolen bases.
“Overall this season was great for me, I feel like I have learned so much about college softball and got to improve on so much I didn’t think I needed to improve on,” Johnson said. “I would like to take in and remember all the ups and downs so next year I’m prepared and ready for whatever.”
Johnson said she is thankful for De Agüero’s leadership and her ability to understand every player and offer support.
“Coach Gina has always been there every time I needed anything, from car problems to school and work. The one thing I will always appreciate from her is her always keeping my grandma’s spirit alive,” Johnson said. “Coach Gina never forgets to remind me of her, and reminds me she’ll always be here.”
Other notable performers were sophomore infielders Melissa Mayeux, who led the team with a .431 batting average, six home runs and 59 RBI and Eliza Artlies who batted .364 and led the team with 28 stolen bases. Sophomore catcher Lishanty Guillermo also bolstered the offense with a .500 slugging percentage, a .396 batting average, 27 RBI and 20 runs scored.
On the mound, the Lady Sharks were led by two sophomores. Tiffany Dodson had a team-high 12 wins and a 3.93 earned average and Chiara Biasi was 7-3 with a sterling 1.47 earned run average.