Heading into the preseason, Eastern Nazarene College’s (ENC) softball team is shaping up for its team trip to Orlando, Florida.

The women’s softball team began their third pre-season training under the leadership of head coach Dani Bishop on January 25. Since most of the women had up to ten weeks off, the Lions were mostly working on the basics – conditioning and lifting.

Coach Bishop states: “I am really happy with where the team is at. We went over our goals, and they are really focused.”

After missing the championship game of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) closely last year due to a 3-4 loss versus Endicott College, the goal for the 2019 season in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) is clear: winning the championship.

In Florida, the Lions will play a total of twelve games split into six doubleheaders from March 1 to March 7. On the off-day, many of the athletes visit one of the amusement parks with their families. Besides, coach Bishop will try to arrange some team bonding experiences and a couple of team dinners. Last year, for example, the team went to downtown Disney.

Compared to last season, Bishop lost four players: the twin sisters Emily and Heidi Gomez, Kayleen Garrick, and Haley Viscovich. For the previous two seasons, Garrick has been the starting center fielder, and Emily Gomez was a solid corner infielder.

Heidi Gomez,especially, “will be tough to replace, as she was solid in the circle for the previous three seasons,” Bishop stresses. Gomez was selected to the Academic All-Commonwealth Coast Conference in the 2015-16 season as a pitcher.

Nevertheless, the coach believes the team has enough depth as well as two new recruits, Kiley Ozaki (freshman) and Julia Seeley (sophomore), to compensate the losses. Moreover, Senior Rebecca Ashman, who plays utility infielder, is healthy after being injured last season.

Overall, “Our strength is definitely that we are an older team. Most of our team is juniors and seniors,” coach Bishop reveals. “Last year they knew how close they were to getting into the championship game and I think this year they really know what’s necessary to be at the top of the conference.”