APTOS—It took the Cabrillo College softball team nearly a month to finally hit their stride following a rough start plagued with injuries and postponements.
But looking back, the situation has metamorphosed the Seahawks into an unrecognizable team from the beginning of the season. With most of their key pieces returning, they are hoping clear skies will turn their luck around.
“It’s made it a little difficult, but at the same time I think going through this adversity is only making us stronger,” said Cabrillo manager Kristy Rosinger. “I think we’ll be able to compete with any team.”
At first glance, an 11-14 overall record is misleading of Cabrillo’s potential and flashes of dominance recently demonstrated.
For much of the beginning of the season, the Seahawks often found themselves without up to four players including pitcher Daisy Ortiz.
With only 12 players on their roster, this cut deep into their reserves with little room to grow or improve as a team.
The season started off with a 13-1 crushing victory against West Hills Coalinga College on Jan. 27. But then the Seahawks dropped nine straight including losses to West Valley and Sequoia (17-10, 5-4).
While battling injuries and inconsistencies within the roster, the Seahawks were grappling with staying focused on the field as much as their opponents.
“I think we definitely got in our own heads a lot,” said freshman catcher Sophia Mendoza. “Now that we’re getting into conference we are finding out how we’re going to win.”
Cabrillo struggled early in the season, but it has flipped the narrative by winning 10 of its previous 13 games. They won back-to-back games against Yuba College on March 25, including a 12-0 beatdown in five innings in the second game of a doubleheader.
In addition to the return of a full and consistent roster, the difference between success and coming up short for the Seahawks has often been simply wanting it more than the opponent.
“I think we’ve practiced harder with the determination to win from those losses,” said freshman infielder Dillyn Vasconcellos. “We had a talk about playing with heart and loving the game, that really impacted us to play harder.”
Vasconcellos leads the team with a batting average of .507 (35-of-69), while contributing 25 runs scored and 13 RBIs.
As a team, Cabrillo has a batting average of .292 and has struggled getting multiple hits in succession.
On the defensive side, they have worked as a cohesive unit among the infield and outfield–making double and even triple plays.
“Having a strong defense is a good foundation. So, once we can get our pitching going and our hitting going, I think we’re going to roll into the win column,” Rosinger said.
Since the start of the season, the Seahawks have been forced to postpone eight games because of storms and heavy rain. Not only did this inhibit them from playing these games but it set them back by preventing them from getting reps in practice.
All eight games were scheduled at Cabrillo, which owns an 8-5 record at home and is substantially better compared to its 3-6 record away from the “Bird’s Nest.”
When the Seahawks make up these games later in the season, this could favor their record considering how well they play in their own stadium.
“I think we definitely play better at home,” Mendoza said. “We have a home field advantage because a lot of other teams have turf but we have dirt and more energy coming into home games.”
Cabrillo is just starting to put all the pieces together with just two returning sophomores in Ortiz and Karla Struthers. They already have three more wins than last year’s 8-27 campaign and there’s 13 games remaining this season.
The last few weeks have been the best softball the program has played in years, and a sign that the tide might be turning for the slow-to-start Seahawks.
Cabrillo will compete in the Coast Conference South Division against Chabot, Ohlone, Hartnell, San Jose, Monterey Peninsula, San Mateo and conference-leading West Valley (19-5, 6-0).
The Seahawks lost back-to-back games against Santa Barbara City College on April 1. They are now two games under .500 and are hoping to finish strong in the final month of the season for a shot at making a playoff push.
“It’s just putting the game together,” said Rosinger. “We’re young so some growing pains, but we’re only going to get stronger as the season grows.”
The Seahawks will continue Coast Conference action against Monterey Peninsula College on Tuesday at 3pm.