As the spring sports season gets underway, the Capital University softball team looks to improve upon last year’s season with another year under longtime head coach Nan Payne. Behind six returning seniors, the team looks to make a run at the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) championship and more. Already, the team is showing the strong foundation vital to a winning record.
“We have a great group of freshmen,” Coach Payne said of the 2017 team, “and our seniors are doing a great job of leading.”
The returning senior leadership includes 2016 standouts Amber Martinelli, who led the team with a 2.15 ERA, and Marisa Koss, who led the team in both home runs (3) and RBIs (20). It is also likely that senior Kat Boyer will return at the position of catcher.
Payne was quick to praise the accomplishments of the Capital team despite the fact that they have not played in a regular season game yet this year. Though she was hesitant to compare them to past teams, Payne remarked that this year’s squad showed an “intensity, drive, [and] aggressiveness” that was noticeably different from past years.
The softball team will begin their season on Feb. 27 in Clermont, Florida, with a game against Neumann University from Aston, Pennsylvania. Soon after they return from Florida, the team will begin conference play. Coach Payne predicts that Capital will have stiff competition within the OAC when conference games arrive.
“The OAC is always really tough,” Payne said. “It’s been fairly even, and that’s what makes it so tough.”
Payne remarked that the rigid competition from other OAC teams has strengthened Capital, but added that Capital’s toughness has had the same effect on the other teams.
“We beat each other up,” Payne stated about the OAC, “but I think we’re all going to be strong … I think we’re all gonna come out looking good this year.”
Overall, Coach Payne spoke positively about this year’s softball team. As of the pre-season, the team is a formidable OAC competitor and looking towards postseason play.
“I think we look extremely good,” Payne said of the Capital University softball team. “I’m very impressed with the leadership, their enthusiasm, their intensity. … This team…they want it.”