Comets will rely heavily on returnees, Weekley and O’Brien for leadership
Rahul Parikh | Sports Editor
The Mason Softball team is taking a big swing this year.
Last season the Softball team won their fifth consecutive GMC (Greater Miami Conference) title, making a run into the state tournament, but ultimately failing in the sweet 16 at the hands of Lakota West.
This year, the Comets look to continue their regular season success, with hopes of making another deep post season run. Junior Tori O’Brien, who ended last season with a .485 batting average and 31 stolen bases is a key returning player at the top of the Comets’ batting order. O’Brien said that a major factor for the Comets will be starting off strong.
“If we’re able to stick with the chemistry that we’ve already gained so far, I think we will be on pace to start out well,” O’Brien said. “If we do that and everyone reaches their potential each game, we can start strong and hopefully finish through.”
For the Comets, the loss last year that put them out of contention was to Lakota West, who they had beaten during the regular season. Senior Ali Weekley, who had 28 R.B.I’s (runs batted in), and a .489 batting average last year, said that the playoff atmosphere changes the game because of the added pressure.
“It’s tough because in pressure- packed games like that it just comes down to whichever team shows up with the better offense or defense that day,” Weekley said. “Unfortunately In that game, it happened to be West.”
A major challenge for Mason this year will be replacing the likes of Olivia Popovich, Zoe Bishop, and Abbey Mullins from the outfield. O’Brien believes that the Comets won’t have too much trouble filling in their shoes, because this team’s outfield is just as capable.
“Obviously we lost a lot of great athletes and incredible outfielders from last year,” O’Brien said. “But I think the people we have coming in are just as good, and they’re definitely ready to come in and take their place.”
Playing a sport with so many intricacies and split-second decisions, O’Brien feels that attention to detail and concentration is extremely important and critical to focus on in practice.
“It’s a huge part of the game. Whether it’s the ‘slappers’ working on their specific bunting techniques every day at practice, or our out fielders working on their glovework and throws every day, we’re always focused on the little things to help us win,” O’Brien said.
The Comets’ offense is highly predicated on slap bunting and speedy runners, but Weekley is more of a power hitter who focuses on moving runners. Weekley said that the balance from power hitting, bunting, and base running is key to making the offense flow.
“It’s more of a mindset for me,” Weekley said. “The ‘slappers’ are able to place their bunts really well to get on base, and for me, my strategy is to move that runner and potentially score them with a hit, wherever I see a gap.”
With the loss of so much talent from the 2017-18 season, Weekley said the Comets have begun to adjust a lot faster than expected so far, and the team this year has lots of potential.
We’ve approached it in a different way,” said Weekley. “With all the talent lost, everyone’s been working well with what we have, and been super adaptable. We’re extremely excited for what this season will hold.”
Photo by Tanner Pearson.