Tough Start Doesn’t Discourage ECC’s Softball Team From Stepping to The Plate

Cory Bray

On Tuesday, March 22, 2016 Illinois Valley Community College scored 15 runs and kept Elgin Community College scoreless in the first five innings, causing the game to be declared a game by the umpire as result of the eight run mercy rule.

“Our girls where hitting really well the first game and we stayed on the corners of the plate in regards to pitching,” said Cory Tomasson, Illinois Valley community College head coach.

According to Section A article four of the GSAC code of regular season playing regulations. An eight run mercy rule will be in effect for all GSAC games, after the fifth inning. At this point the game is declared an official game.

“They played hard, the other team was just a little more talented,” said Justin Stark, a spectator who attended the game while waiting for his daughter’s St. Edwards high school softball practice to end on an adjacent field.

ECC opened their season against two highly competitive non-conference opponents Triton College and Illinois Valley Community College. Struggling to even stay competitive the Spartans where swept in double headers with each college.

“Those teams where playing at a high level,” said third year head coach Jordan Smith.

Since the rocky start the Spartans have turned things around and currently possesses a 5-5 overall, 4-0 conference record.

Adversity is no stranger to ECC’s head softball coach Jordan Smith. In his first year as head softball coach a sufficient number of softball players weren’t available so athletic director Kent Payne made the decision not to field a women’s softball team in 2014.

“It was tough but gave me time to hit the recruiting trail and our girls got to work on fundamentals and conditioning that year,” said Smith.

The 2016 season is Smith’s first full season to pair his first recruiting class with his core returning players. “We are loaded with freshman and I hope they continue to stay with the program and recruit more members,” said Smith.

The Spartans have tremendously increased their level of play and have won their last five games since the start of the season. Tightening up their play on offense and defense during this stretch the team has managed to put 53 runs on the board and hold their opponents to a total of four runs.

Their pitching was on point and was able to produce two shut out games. In addition the team didn’t allow a team to make it past the fifth inning enacting the mercy rule that once plagued them.

“We weren’t playing up to our expectations in our first few games. We are getting better game by game,” said Smith.

Kate Peterburs has been a force so far this season, leading the team with eight home runs. Kate is a transfer student from the University of Wisconsin Park Side and is unsure where she will be transferring next.

“Our strengths are we can hit and our pitching is pretty good too so that keeps us in most games we play,” said Smith.

Playing at the Elgin Sports Complex because there’s no softball field currently on ECC’s campus, the ECC softball team has proved that no matter how bad things may seem at the start, you’ll never reach your full potential if you don’t step to the plate.