After a season of no softball, Goshen College boarded a bus to Georgia for the first spring training under Maple Leafs Coach Lee Mast. It was a first for many of the new team members – 11 had never played at the college level.
According to Mast, “It was a wake-up call for a few.”
The team’s first game against Weston College in Tennessee was canceled due to the cold weather.
The team continued to Savannah, Georgia for a double-header. The Maple Leafs lost both games, 3-2 and 11-5. “You could tell it was the first time outdoors,” Mast said. “It takes some getting used to playing outdoors coming from practicing indoors.”
The next double-header was against Brewton-Parker College. Though Maple Leafs lost both of the games, 4-3 and 5-4, they only lost by one run each game. “Halfway through I started noticing they were beginning to work together,” said Mast.
Next, the Leafs played Savannah College of Art and Design who ranked number 19 in the country. The Maple Leafs won the first game 7-3 but lost the second game 12-0.
The Maple Leafs finished their Savannah trip winning their last two games – 9-7 against West Virginia University Tech and 5-4 against Franklin College.
Overall, Mast was pleased with the Leafs performance, “especially for the team not playing for a year.”
Just as the softball team headed for warmer weather during spring break, so did the Goshen College baseball team. On a southern swing through Florida, the team played eight games in eight days, with their only win a 1-0 victory over Bluffton University.
Prior to leaving Goshen, the team had expected to compete well, but Maple Leafs Coach Josh Keister admitted to being disappointed with how they played.
Ending in success, the final game was steered by junior pitcher Aaron Coy, who struck out nine hitters.
Another key player for Goshen was Zac Miller, a junior. “Zac hit the ball well all week and is our leading hitter right now at around 340,” Keister said.
According to Keister, playing other Mennonite colleges is an enjoyable experience. “It does make for decent crowds as many Mennonites gather in the Sarasota area during spring breaks,” Keister said.