After becoming the PSAC champion and the Atlantic Region champion in 2021, West Chester University’s Softball Team looks to have yet another successful season in 2022. The Golden Rams are ranked first in the PSAC’s preseason coaches’ poll, and are picked to win the PSAC East.
Last year’s team ended with an impressive 34–16 overall record and ended its season in losses to Saint Anselm College and Grand Valley State University in the NCAA Division II National Championship. The team impressively averaged 7.38 runs per game and 6.22 RBIs per game. Defensively, the pitchers averaged 3.22 strikeouts a game and kept other teams’ runs per game at 5.06. But knowing the team has lost and added pieces to its roster, what could their season look like?
“We lost a lot of starters to graduation,” said head coach of the softball team, Diane Lokey. When asked about the expectations on this team based on the preseason rankings, she responded with needing others to step up as they have been “reloading” this offseason.
Captains Grace Aguilar and Trisha Kopinetz look to lead the Golden Rams to another thriving season. Aguilar was asked about remembering last season and things that the team could integrate coming into this season.
“One thing I can remember about the 2021 season is the amount of fun we had. We had a great group of girls, great leaders/upperclassmen and I think they set a great example for this 2022 team.” said Aguilar.
Aguilar explains that having fun and having amazing leaders lead to the team’s success. She was then asked about the player’s individual mindset as well as the team’s mindset heading into the season.
“We have been reading the book “Heads up Baseball,” which really focuses on your mental game and how to improve it.” said Aguilar. “This has taught us as individual players to have confidence, think about what type of player we want to be, and go into each game or practice with a mission.”
When asked about advice to the players going into the season, Lokey said, “I tell them to take the game one pitch at a time.” Lokey also tells the players to breathe and focus on their breathing. The coach herself admits that she does not get nervous, but rather has a sense of adrenaline before a game.
Aguilar reiterates the words about the approach of one pitch at a time, or even one game a time. This helps the team not get ahead of themselves and leave the talk about expectations out of their minds. When talking about learning and growing through mistakes, it is clear that the whole team, including the coach, are on the same page going into the season.
Looking back on the 2021 season, the Golden Rams played Kutztown University six times. In a quadruple header, Kutztown won 3 of 4 games when these teams first met in that season. Later on in the PSAC Semifinals, West Chester came out victorious in a best of 3 series win with wins in both game 1 and game 3. This matchup excites anyone just from the drama of last season and the remains of that drama that could continue this season. In late April, when it seems to matter most, the Golden Rams will travel to Kutztown to take on a team that may be seeking some revenge.
The Golden Rams hit the field Feb. 5 and 6 as they played four games in the Carolinas. The team went 1–3 in those games and a main positive take away from the game was hitting the ball well. They combined for 33 runs, but struggled to keep other teams from scoring below 9 runs per game. Coach Lokey mentions that they only had nine practices before this series of games and that there is much to learn, including more preparation for the pitchers.
Because the season has just begun, Coach Lokey and her team are most likely not looking ahead to the many games and rivalries set to take place all season. Rather, they are continuing to make sure that their mindsets are all the same; “one pitch at a time.”
Timothy Smith is a senior Communication Studies major with a minor in Journalism. TS944841@wcupa.edu