The softball team is set to open the season in Tyler, Texas on Friday, Feb. 12.
The Gorillas will start off with a game against Texas Woman’s on Friday at 12:15 p.m. before taking on Texas-Tyler later that day at 4:45 p.m. On Saturday, Feb. 13, the team will go head-to-head with Texas-Woman’s at 10 a.m. and then Southeastern Oklahoma at 12:15 p.m. They will close the weekend in Commerce, Texas against Montevallo on Sunday, Feb. 14.
“(I hope to) see them (the team) compete day in and day out,” said head coach Ashley Balazs. “Obviously, it’s a little bit of a different year so we need to handle all the distractions around us…”
Madison Szymanski, a criminal justice major and a member of the softball team, is also eagerly anticipating the start of the season.
“We have a solid team this year,” Szymanski said. “We’re hungry… and ready to go. We have been working really hard at practice…and weights to make ourselves better. The chemistry this team has is so awesome… and I am so lucky to have been a part of it for the last… (three) years. This year is special. We are geared up and ready to show everyone what Gorilla softball is all about.”
Last season, the softball team was scheduled to have games throughout March and April, but COVID-19 hit and ended the season early.
“(I’m look forward to) just competing,” Balazs said. “It’s been a while. You work really hard all year for the opportunity to compete and to go out and beat someone. So, for me, competition is one of the things I love about this job.”
Szymanski is particularly excited about playing on the Pitt State home field.
“I’m looking forward to playing at home this season,” Szymanski said. “We got cut short last season… and never got the chance to play on our beautiful home field. As March 6th approaches, we are getting more and more excited for that home debut.”
This season will be different than any other, as it has been so far with new regulations and mandatory COVID-19 testing.
“Some goals that I have this season would just to stay focused… and control the controllable,” Szymanski said. “With… COVID being around, we have to stay super focused on the big picture and what’s in front of us. We can only control so much this season… COVID changed a lot up for us but we have definitely… (overcome) a lot of obstacles together. Our whole team got quarantined… and that took one of our last weeks of practice before break away from us. Over the break, I know the girls worked hard so that we didn’t go backwards in all of the progress we made.”
Despite her excitement, Szymanski is aware of the challenges this season that COVID-19 will continue brining but hopes that the softball team will be able to play the full season.
“As a team we have to get tested quite often, so we need to do our absolute best to stay healthy… and follow all of the… COVID guidelines so that we can continue with our season,” Szymanski said.