Softball’s winning ways

Skylar To

Once a year, Suffolk University’s softball team plays for something bigger than themselves– to raise cancer awareness.

On Saturday, April 9, the team hosted its fourth annual Coaches versus Cancer fundraising event in a double header against Emmanuel (Mass.). The home games originally set for 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. were postponed to 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Clemente Field due to inclement weather. The team lost the first match 2-0 before coming back with a 6-3 win in the second game, which was their first conference win this season.

“[The event] wasn’t at the right time or place, but it was a great day, a nice event, and we made it work,” said Head Coach Jaclyn Davis. “Family and friends always do a great job getting the event together.” The Lady Rams’ parents sold baked sale goods and refreshments to raise money to go towards prostate cancer research this year.

The fundraising event kicked off during Davis’s first season with the team. Davis pitched the idea to see how the event would turn out and she then reached out to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference to make Coaches versus Cancer an event teams can participate in around the league.

“Every year, every team chooses who or what they want to play for,” said Davis. “Each team plays for a specific reason or person to raise breast cancer awareness.”

Teams partner with the American Cancer Society to donate money raised toward general cancer research or make a request for the money to go toward a specific kind of cancer. Teams play to remember and honor cancer fighters, survivors and those who have passed away.

“It’s easy to get caught up day to day. It’s easy to get caught up in how hectic and challenging things can be,” said Davis. “We forget to step back and appreciate life, and what we have. Life’s not as bad as you think it is.”

Coaches versus Cancer helps the team see “the bigger picture,” Davis said.

“It’s a great reminder to have a better perspective, and to be thankful for what we’ve been given and opportunities we have,” Davis said. “Appreciate what you are given and not take it for granted.”

With 24 games remaining in the season and a 12-4 record after notching wins in their conference double-header matches versus Lasell on Sunday night, Davis thinks the team is off to a really good start.

“Everybody has played and contributed in some point in some fashion,” said Davis. “We have depth and versatility. We do a great job supporting each other.”

Before the start of the season, the Lady Rams were projected to finish fourth of 12 teams in the GNAC preseason poll, senior co-captain and outfielder Nicole Isakson disagrees and thinks the team can place higher in the standings. Isakson added that the team went from finishing in eighth place her freshman year to coming in first place last season.

“Our goal is to finish higher up and win the GNAC,” said Isakson. “Other teams have to prepare for us. And we have to prepare for them.”

Senior co-captain and outfielder Meredith Ball said her team is healthy and motivated to win the conference tournament. Ball thinks her team works really good together.

“We understand what it is like to be on a team and to put others before ourselves,” said Ball. “We do a great job at coming back during games. We strive to beat every team we come in contact with.”

Davis works with the team in setting the tone, challenging each other to be better, and maintaining energy and motivation.

“I don’t want them to settle, the team has a lot of games in hand in a short amount of time,” said Davis. “We have to continue having that energy and consistency.”

Playing around the weather has been another challenge for the team, which has rescheduled games and crammed back-to-back matches toward the end of the season.

“It’s been kind of crazy and unexpected,” said Isakson. “The only control you have is what you bring everyday. I also try to bring encouragement and positivity.”

“It’s hard to stay ready when we haven’t played in so long,” said Isakson. “We just have to stay excited to play and win.”