By, Vince Menon
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - With 10 new players on the roster, Santa Clara University softball's recently completed fall schedule was an important opportunity for the Broncos to gain some vital experience and bond as a team. The team is energized and looking forward to proving itself in the upcoming season.
Senior infielder Kristin Welsh, who batted a team-high .322 and was named to the PCSC Academic Honor Roll in 2010 before being forced to sit out the majority of her junior season with injury, is one of the team leaders. With the 2012 season quickly approaching, SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with Welsh (KW) about the team's fall results, the jam-packed spring schedule, and her favorite Bronco softball memory.
SCB: Your spring schedule was recently released and it includes 51 games spanning seven non-conference tournaments and the always-challenging 20-game Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) slate. What are you looking forward to most about the upcoming season? What will be your biggest challenge?
KW: I'm looking forward to traveling to play different teams. We have a lot of local competition we usually like to take advantage of; however, getting the opportunity to travel and play new teams is really exciting. Our biggest challenge will definitely be the amount of games we play. The weekends during season are filled with many double-headers in continuous weekends and it can be very difficult to stay healthy and focused throughout the entire season, especially with the level of competition we are going to face.
SCB: With two transfers and eight freshmen the team has a number of new faces this year. How are the new players adapting so far and how are you helping them become acclimated?
KW: The new players are adapting extremely well and jumping into their roles very quickly. Returners focus really hard on making the transition as easy as possible for the freshmen. We try to be as approachable and as friendly as possible. We know it can be intimidating asking seniors for help, so we like to ask how they are doing every once and a while to make sure all of them are feeling comfortable in their new routines.
SCB: Your fall schedule featured three games against local teams as well as two games against Division I opponents San Jose State and Stanford. How did SCU approach fall play? What were the goals for these games in particular?
KW: Our primary goal for the fall is to focus on playing together as a team. With ten new players joining our team it was especially important for us to learn each other's strengths and weakness in order to play our best together. We hope to sharpen our skills and get our routine down by the time our spring season comes.
SCB: As an individual, and from a team perspective, did you play at the level you were hoping?
KW: I think for such a young team we did incredibly well, and the freshmen really impressed the coaching staff as well as the returners. Although there were some games we would have liked to win, overall it is was a successful fall and we now have specifics to work on until the season starts.
SCB: As a senior, what are your personal and team goals for your final season?
KW: As a senior, I want to finish out my college career strong. I am working toward at least a .350 batting average and a fielding percentage in the high 90's. This is my last year to play competitive softball and I want to take complete advantage. As for our team, we have a lot of talent and potential, which should allow us to significantly increase our wins this year and come out on top of our conference.
SCB: Finally, what is your favorite memory from Bronco softball thus far?
KW: My favorite memory was during sophomore year. We beat the University of the Pacific for the first time after losing to them about four times that year. It was such an intense game and our team played incredibly well together.