Joseph Lillard – Sports Editor
On a shortened week, Clarion’s softball team finished out its season on a high note.
Clarion split a doubleheader on April 28 against Lock Haven, conquering its opponent by a score of 1-0 before dropping its last game of the year 2-0.
As could be imagined from the scores, tight defense and great pitching left the offenses swinging for any kind of momentum builder.
In fact, the first game’s lone run didn’t come until the sixth inning.
Casey Wilcox, a senior, knocked out a single up the middle of the field.
Wilcox picked up an RBI on the hit when Taylor Nonnenburg crossed the plate.
Paige Baker, another senior, pitched the whole victory for the Golden Eagles, as she cashed in a performance that won her PSAC Central Pitcher of the Week honors in her last outing as pitcher.
Baker allowed only five hits, and she fanned six batters in the course of the game.
Unfortunately, Clarion’s last home games ended in cancellation due to inclement weather.
Just like that, Clarion’s 2017 season finished.
Wilcox summed up the season and said, “I think we had a lot of positives. We beat many quality, top level teams, and that said a lot about where the program is going. There is still a long way to go, but we are definitely moving in the right direction!”
The senior Wilcox mentioned that to keep growing, the team would need to focus on, “Offense, offense, offense. We had way too many strikeouts and not enough runs batted in. Our biggest challenge this year was leaving runners in scoring position. In the offseason, that clutch like mentality needs to be strengthened.”
Even though Wilcox won’t be on the roster next season, she remains optimistic for the team’s future.
Wilcox said her optimism stems from wanting, “them to use their full potential and believe in themselves. If they can do that, they can beat any team they face. We have the talent and heart, they just need to piece some things together and have fun.”
Wilcox certainly was no slouch of a player.
With her college career over, she ranks fourth in school history for doubles and started a school record of 151 games.
However, Clarion’s softball team taught the education major a lesson in much more than how the game is played.
Wilcox said, “I realized that life is so much bigger than softball, and that this game has shaped me into the person I am. A person who faces adversity and becomes better because of it, who can communicate frustration and who allows emotions and passion to lead because that’s the only way to live an authentic life.”
Wilcox continued, “This program means so much to me. I might not have accomplished everything I wanted to, but it made me into someone I am proud of and I can only hope that every other strong woman will let it do the same.”