With only three months until their first games, the Goshen College softball and baseball seasons are fast approaching.The baseball team is coming off a 2023 season with an overall record of 10-38. The softball team finished the 2023 season with a 24-26 record.
Baseball has added 13 new players to their program this year, while softball has added only two. Currently, the teams are holding unofficial workouts and will begin official practices after Christmas break.
Mckenzie Richardson, a senior, said the softball team practices bonding by holding a team activity at least once a month. Richardson talked about “captain-led practices” where the coach is not there, but players still come together to lift. In the offseason, Richardson said, “Everybody works hard. I see people getting extra reps in, and everyone takes schooling seriously.”
Lily Robles, a senior, said, “Every lift is together … we all have positive energy, and this helps us feed off of each other.”
Richardson said that a goal for the upcoming season is to be in the top four of their conference. Last season, softball made it to the conference tournament and placed fifth.
With only two new players added to the roster, the softball team looks to “build and continue on what we started [last season],” Richardson said.
Robles said, “This year the culture is good; we are very close because we have been through hardships, and it has made us stronger.”
Head coach Luke Wagner emphasized the goals and the team culture: “The girls have really embraced the team family-type culture. … They are leaning on each other when things get difficult and celebrating with each other when things go well.”
Post-season victories are always a goal for his team: “We hope to be playing meaningful games late in the season, and so if we are competing in the conference tournament, then we’re accomplishing what we want to.”
The baseball team is looking to achieve similar goals.
Brad Stoltzfus, GC’s new baseball head coach, said that his goal is “to make the postseason tournament … all the guys are hungry to do that.” The baseball team hasn’t made the tournament since 2019. The team is also striving for a 3.2 average GPA, Stoltzfus said.
Stoltzfus also wants to “improve players’ health and durability this year.” The team has hired a new strength and conditioning coach, Tyler Miller, to help improve in these areas as they have been lifting this fall.
Jenner Rodammer, a senior who was first-team all-conference last year, said the team is “focusing on getting a lot stronger. … We have had a big emphasis on defense in the past few weeks.”
Stoltzfus said that the men are starting this season with a “blank slate, a new coaching staff and a new team.
“Don’t worry about last year, don’t worry about next year, don’t worry about two years ago … we worry about this year.”
Morgan Baker, a senior, said the team is working to “build leaders who are not only good baseball players but [good] people.”
The team has worked on coming together this offseason to grow their culture, Rodammer said, including “pool parties and other team-building stuff.” The team is also volunteering at Nappanee Missionary Church for the “Feed My Starving Children” event.
In early March, the softball and baseball teams will host their first home opener.
With reporting by Kevin Liddell