Softball searches for competitive greatness

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Softball season is just around the corner and the California Baptist University softball team has been working diligently to achieve their goal of yet another winning season.

Head coach Mike Smith said in order to continue to win and succeed the team must play with “competitive greatness.” Competitive greatness is a concept that comes from John Wooden, a University of California, Los Angeles basketball coach who developed the Pyramid of Success.

The Pyramid of Success allows each player to pick an attribute or skill that they feel best describes them. Each player then writes down what they think describes them best, followed by the rest of the team.

This pyramid is displayed on the wall in the softball team locker room. Included are softballs that represent each player with their descriptive word. This is a great motivational tool that Smith utilizes to bring teammates closer to each other and to their goals. It allows the athletes to focus on what is most important for them to work on through the season. The softball team bonded by going on a team retreat in early January.

“Focus will be the key to our success this season,” Smith said.

“Although our bats are looking good this season, our number one struggle as a team will be our defense,” Assistant Coach Bill Baber said.

This is the 16th consecutive season that CBU will be entering the season with a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics number one ranking. Briana Corral, second base, is excited to be a part of the team as they jump into the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s Division II.

“What I have learned most from my softball experience at CBU is the ability to manage academics, softball and a social life.” Corral said, “If I can manage my time doing all of these activities, then I know I will be successful in the future.”

The softball team’s intensive schedule includes waking up every morning for 5:10 a.m. weight training, attending morning classes, softball practice and most importantly homework after that.

“This sport really has taught me how to be disciplined both academically and physically,” Corral said.

Sophmore Andreana Banuelos said that her favorite thing about being a part of the softball team is she gets to share her love of competition with the team and she loves that her teammates are like family to her. Teammates spend most of their time together either on the field, off the field or in the classroom.

This year’s team is placing reliance on God to help them throughout the season. Katie Reeves holds a weekly bible study that is optional for all players. It is a way for the players to come together spiritually and talk about the things God is doing in their lives and within the team. The team also prays before all practices and games to ensure that they put God first in all that they do.