Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia
The Blue Demons softball team has faced many tough situations before and this season is no different. DePaul has a new head coach for the first time in over three decades and has been adjusting fairly well up to this point.
The main players who are contributing to the continued success and helping the team exceed expectations from outsiders for this year are senior Alysia Rodriguez and fifth-year senior Angela Scalzitti.
“My teammates always joke [that] I’m the grandma of the team, so I’ve kinda been in those situations before,” Scalzitti said.
She kept referring to being a fifth-year senior and how it was her job to help the team when they were put in a tough spot.
“Honestly, my mind doesn’t change: Just put the ball in play. If I freak out, I know I wouldn’t hit that ball, so I was calm, cool and collected,” Scalzitti said.
DePaul has had close games this year where they have clawed back to get a win after trailing at some point. In their first game of the season, they came back to beat Green Bay in the eighth inning. In a game against Northwestern, the Blue Demons were down 5-1 before scoring eight runs in the sixth inning and winning the game 9-7.
The most recent examples of DePaul having resolve was this past Thursday, when they took on St. John’s as part of a doubleheader in a series that will determine first place in the Big East Conference. The Blue Demons lost the first game by a score of 5-1 and only managed four hits scattered across three innings. They responded with a close win in the second game, where there were five hits and five walks.
The Blue Demons are a clutch team as their record shows, they have a 7-1 record in one-run games they have played this season.
Rodriguez is another example of a player who has gone through some dry spells this year but continued to approach everything the same.
“Honestly I’ve been struggling a lot this season, just mentally trying to find my feel,” Rodriguez said. “When I go in the box my approach is a little bit different; I just get really relaxed and just say I got this, so I think I have more trust in myself.”
First year head coach Tracie Adix-Zins also harped on how the team has adjusted to tough circumstances throughout the year.
“Having our team prepare midweek for having a close game and having to finish out and play extra innings,” Adix-Zins said when addressing the hard-fought win against Illinois State. “I think it’s just big for our pitching staff, for our hitters, of just continuing to fight and continuing to play.”
Adix-Zins also mentioned the team coming together and the coaches letting the girls be themselves and interact more with each other rather than the coaches.
“How are you guys going to stay motivated?” Adix-Zins continued. “We were complacent. We started to pick up the motivation a little bit more, cheer a little bit more, and that kinda kept them going.”
Saturday’s third game was cancelled due to inclement weather, DePaul remains in second place in the conference standings, leaving them two wins behind St. John’s for first place.