Softball uses fall season to stay fresh

GVL Archive
Sophomore Briauna Taylor sprints around the bases during a past match.

GVL Archives

GVL Archive Sophomore Briauna Taylor sprints around the bases during a past match.

Dan Spadafora

The NCAA calls the fall softball season a “non-traditional” one, but don’t tell Miranda Cleary and the Grand Valley State University women’s softball team that these games don’t matter.

“A lot of it is being able to work with the team but also it’s just to see what we need to work on as a team and individually,” said Cleary, last season’s GLIAC Freshman of the Year. “So it is pretty relaxed but still fairly competitive if not really competitive.”

Before the snow returns to GVSU and the winter offseason begins, the team is practicing and playing during the fall. The NCAA allows 24 practices during a 45-day period during this non-traditional season.

The games are played on Saturday and Sunday and are longer than usual, normally lasting 10 innings.

“I think a lot of it, it helps if you get new players coming in, it helps the team come together and work together,” Cleary said. “Also it helps you see where you are at in the fall and you can work out.”

During a regular spring season, the NCAA allows a total of 56 games to be played, and if a program wants to participate in a fall season, the games played during the fall must be deducted from the spring total, thus limiting the regular season.

Head coach Doug Woods said although these games reduce the overall spring total, the games are a good barometer for seeing where his team stands before the off season.

“You can practice but you really like to see them in game situations against other competition,” he said. “You get a true evaluation of how your players do.”

This past weekend the Lakers hit the diamond against Lake Superior State University.

“We’ve done fairly well,” Woods said. “Our defense has been very good, our pitching has done well, our hitting is not up to where we were last year but it’s still real early.”

GVSU was scheduled to play Central Michigan University at home last Saturday, but the game has been rescheduled to this Sunday at 1 p.m. due to weather conditions

In the future, Woods said he would like to see more games played during the fall, but for now GVSU has to abide by the Division II rules.

“They already had a rule in place that you could not miss a class to go to a game and we are not missing any class time to play games and there’s enough schools close enough where it’s not a big expense to play those games,” Woods said. “So I’d like to go to the Division I rule where they can play eight games.”

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