Spring is upon us, and with the snow finally melting, the women of FSU’s softball team are more than ready to take the field together for the first time in over a year.
Senior Camille Desrochers and junior Laela Pepin are ready to lead the team with the two other veteran players returning to the roster. The remaining players are new and haven’t experienced playing for the University yet.
The eight sophomores and 10 freshmen on the roster are looking forward to their first season playing for FSU after last season’s cancellation.
Even though they are a team on paper, they have yet to play as a team on the field.
“I remember our spring break was canceled first, they said we were gonna have the two week break thinking we were gonna have those couple weeks off and we’ll come back ready to go,” Desrochers said. “When we got the news about the whole season being canceled it was so crazy and we were all so confused.”
Pepin said, “We were supposed to have our Florida trip the week everything was canceled, we had meetings for it thinking everything was OK. We all went to dinner in the dining hall and we got an email saying the trip was canceled, I was very upset about it.”
Desrochers is from Westford, having played many sports growing up, she decided to continue playing softball in college.
“I did Tee ball in either Kindergarten or first grade, then played softball right away,” Desrochers said. “My older sister played so I just kind of followed her lead.”
Pepin is from Acushnet, and has been playing the game since around 8 years old.
“I started playing baseball when I was really young,” Pepin said, “I transitioned from baseball to softball at around 8 or 9 years old.”
Many student-athletes have endured the emotional rollercoaster of finding out if their team was eligible to play for another season, luckily these Rams have been given another chance.
“Going into this year with basketball being canceled, we kind of expected that as well,” Desrochers said. “Our coaches and team has done a good job keeping our fingers crossed, so there’s been a lot of positive thinking going into this season.”
The women are fortunate enough to get together six days a week practice time both in the Athletic Center and on the field.
Although they are able to play, the team must follow restrictions made by the CDC just like every other sport.
“We do split practices, one half the team would go into the small gym to hit and the other half would hang out and do homework, and we would switch in after,” Pepin said. “But since we’re outside, it’s definitely a lot better, I think we’re all appreciating the weather and the fact we’ve been able to go outside, it’s a different vibe.”
The team has been practicing for about two weeks now, preparing for their first game against Emmanuel College next week.
Rather than their normal Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday game schedule, restrictions made by the CDC created an abnormal season schedule different from what the women are used to.
This requires the team to get tested every Tuesday and Thursday clearing them for their now Friday, Saturday, and Sunday games back-to-back.
“We need to have a negative test within 72 hours of the game, so getting tested on Tuesday covers us for Friday’s game, and that Thursday will cover us for Saturday and Sunday games,” Desrochers said.
Despite not playing a real game together as a team, the women are more than ready to leave it all out on the field.
“I’ve gotten closer to a lot of the players and developed great friendships, having the team with everything going on helped,” Pepin said. “To know that they’re staying active was something that helped me stay up during times that were hard.”
Desrochers said no one is more passionate about the sport than Head Coach Larry Miller. This is his eighth season coaching the team and is the most excited to see them back in action once again.
“This whole year has taught everyone to not take anything for granted,” Desrochers said. “The fact we’re even playing games next week, it feels like it’s been forever.
“We’re ready to put ourselves to the test.”
With the season upon them and their love for the game more valuable than ever before, Desrochers and Pepin leave words of encouragement for the season ahead.
“Go out there and play the game like you have been. You just keep going. Don’t get stressed out about things. Mistakes are gonna happen and we learn from them,” Pepin said. “We’re definitely a team that likes to have fun, and when we have fun, we win games.
“After last year, you just have to appreciate every single second. Four years goes by in the blink of an eye and some haven’t even experienced their first college softball game,” Desrochers said. “Have fun, take advantage of every second, because before you know it, you’ll be graduating.”