Freshman Becca Hayner opens up about her personal experience on Eastern Nazarene College’s women’s softball team, giving a positive outlook on the upcoming season and tournament.

Hayner has played competitive softball for a “very long time.” Since she was home schooled in upstate New York, she had the opportunity to play on advanced travel teams while growing up. Eastern is the first school team she has represented on the field.

When Hayner was looking at colleges, her priorities were to find a small Christian college that was not too far from home where she could play on a softball team. Eastern was the perfect fit for her as she was able to continue her passion for playing the game.

The main difference between playing on travel leagues in high school and playing for a college softball team is the training and time commitment. Hayner explains that training on a college team is much more vigorous and time consuming. The practice sessions are longer and more frequent, and juggling school, softball, and relationships can become challenging.

Being on a team with younger and older students allows for wisdom and advice to be passed down. The students with two or three years of experience on the team can give helpful advice regarding time management and class schedules. They also give insight into the ways coaches approach the game and how other schools compete. This makes the transition from high school to college more manageable and allows for new friendships to develop.

When talking about team performance, Hayner mentions that “team chemistry is the most underrated skill.” Befriending teammates outside of practice can result in a positive outlook from all players. This allows for better performance on the field during game time. Successful games cannot happen when there are conflicts between players. Keeping a close-knit team both on and off the field can have an enormous impact on every single player.

The softball team has been preparing for their Florida tournament by actively hosting outdoor and nighttime practices. Hayner says the team “is looking really good” after collaborative exercises and practices. The five incoming freshmen have “brought a good energy to the team,” lifting hopes that they will do well in the upcoming season and the Florida tournament.

Hayner is hopeful as the softball team enters the new season with a positive attitude with their first away game against Elms College, a double header on March 17 at 11 am and 1 pm.