After serving as an assistant coach with the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Women’s Softball program for three years, Becca Collins is back this season to serve as head coach. Even though it’s her first season at the helm, she’ll be looking to turn around last year’s Hawks’ win-loss record of 11-25.
She said she’ll be relying on four key players to do so: sophomore catcher Haylee McClanahan, freshman pitcher and third basemen Skylar Clark, freshman utility player Anna Klotz, and freshman utility player Rachel Polk. McClanahan is one of five returning sophomores on this year’s squad that is also welcoming six new freshman.
In 33 games last year for the Hawks, McClanahan hit .338/.427/.637 with five home runs and 26 runs batted in (RBIs). She led the team in home runs, hitting nearly half of the team’s total of 12, and tied for the team-lead in RBIs.
“Haylee McClanahan‘s our only catcher so she’s going to be a big part of the season and how our team plays is how she’s going to play, so if she’s in the right spot at the right time we’ll roll behind her,” Collins said.
According to MaxPreps.com, Clark went 12-7 with a 3.89 ERA as a pitcher over two varsity seasons at Calvert High School. She also posted a .371/.488/.400 slash line with nine RBIs in 17 games her senior year. Collins said she will depend on Clark in the pitcher’s circle.
Clark’s development during the off-season has been “spectacular,” Collins said. “She’s keeping the ball down, her movement pitches are moving, her fastball’s hitting her spots. She’s really coming along. She’s gained a few miles an hour since the fall. I think she’s doing very well. If she keeps pitching like she is now, we’ll be alright.”
Collins said she wants the identity of this team to be based around teamwork.
“Everybody’s getting along really well and they’re working together and I think they’re seeing how working together can benefit the team as a whole,” Collins said. “This is going to be a team that if we work together we’ll hopefully win some ball games.”
To further emphasize the idea of teamwork, no captains were named for this year’s team. However, a certain player will lead the team during a certain drill while another will help guide the team off the field.
“I think at this point each girl kind of steps up at a different time so I don’t necessarily have one person that leads the team per se,” Collins said. “I just have a few here that if we’re sprinting I’ve got one that pumps them up for conditioning, and then I got another one that outside the field keeps them all together getting along, so I think I have a few different ones that just step up at different times.”
Collins also wants this behavior to carry over into game scenarios when at any point it could be anybody’s responsibility to step up and do what needs to be done.
“It’s not always going to go our way and when it doesn’t to control what we can control,” Collins said. “I think a big thing we’re focusing on now is doing your job and when your number’s called being able to perform no matter what the situation is.”
Confidence, trust and belief in one’s ability will be critical for this team to persevere when they face adversity, Collins shared.
“We need to learn to overcome negativity and be confident in ourselves,” she added. “I think a lot of this year we’ll have to overcome the negativity and be confident that I have the ability to do what my job is. We’ve been working on that, we’ve been really trying hard to create the positive atmosphere and cut that negativity thought out.”
The intercollegiate athletics program at CSM provides an educational and competitive physical experience for its student athletes integrating training for the mind as well as the body. Learn more about CSM Athletics at http://athletics.csmd.edu/landing/index.