The Wesleyan softball team is 12-11-1 and looking to build on a strong opening five games of its conference scheduling, having gone 2-3 thus far. Entering a weekend that could decide the team’s playoff fate, The Argus interviewed Captain, second baseman, and pitcher Amanda Roosa ’16 and right fielder Izzy Linzer ’17. Roosa is entering her first year of captaincy, sharing duties with Jill Gately ’15. She’s 2-2 on the mound, leads the team in stolen bases, and has started all 23 games for the Birds. Linzer is having an incredible season at the plate, ranking first on the team in hits and runs and in the top three in slugging, on-base percentage, and batting average.
The Argus: What’s the feeling around the team right now, entering two Little Three weekends in a row?
Izzy Linzer: Everybody’s really excited, there’s a lot of positivity around the team, in practices and games which is huge.
Amanda Roosa: With NESCAC games, every game is close, so it’s easy to get down in a loss, but our team doesn’t do that. We know how to get out there every inning and do everything we can to win.
A: How have you been able to get wins over NESCAC teams like Trinity and Hamilton so far?
IL: We came out every single inning with complete focus. We have to be focused to win, and bringing that kind of intensity to the Trinity games was huge because that’s how we’re going to have to play if we expect to get these wins in the next couple weeks.
AR: [It’s important not to be] focusing on who you’re playing, because no matter who you’re playing this time of year it’s going to be a tight game, but instead focusing on making every play you can, and doing everything you can do to help the team win.
A: How did your spring break training trip to Florida affect you guys as a team?
AR: It’s just two weeks of close contact, you’re living in two houses right next to each other…. Being able to go in and out of each other’s houses for two weeks straight led to so much team bonding.
IL: When you trust someone off the field, you trust them so much more on the field. You can’t put a value on being able to develop that kind chemistry together.
AR: Spring training for us is all about confidence building, and we were really able to do that this year. It helps just being on real dirt, even, instead of just in the field house.
A: How has it been having such a large
sophomore class, with six women on the team in that year?
AR: It’s great to have so many underclassmen. The team dynamic is really going to stick from year to year.
IL: We were able to build a lot from last year to this year, and that’s a big reason why the dynamic is so different. Last year the team was half freshmen. That’s a huge learning curve to catch up on in your first year on the team.
AR: The sophomore class has matured on the field a lot. Having a year of experience under the belt means they have so much more confidence when they’re playing.
A: What importance do you prescribe to early season wins over fellow NESCAC foes, like Hamilton and Trinity?
IL: I like to think about not hyping a team up or a pitcher up. We know that if we play our game, it shouldn’t matter who we’re playing, because we know we can win.
A: What do you have to think about this weekend going into games against first-place Williams?
IL: We have to be on our toes. We can’t look ahead too much. They’re a scrappy team who needs the wins. We need to focus on every inning.
AR: What’s nice about having such good competition is that every single play you have to be on your toes, because every play could affect the outcome of the game.
IL: Coming out and scoring runs early is important for us, [and] winning every single inning. I think complacency can be a really dangerous thing in the game, so we can never give up.
A: What do you think your biggest weaknesses are as a team?
IL: I think when we’re doing best is when we have that sense of cockiness, when I’m out there and just have a little extra spring in my step. Our coaches call it “swag,” and when we’re playing with swag, we’re playing best. Not just being excited and confident, but that little extra sense of “we’ve got this.” Finding a way to tap into that all the time is something we need to work on.
A: Izzy, as the leadoff hitter, what’s your approach to getting on base to set the tone for the lineup?
IL: I’m a slapper, so I’ll look at where the defense is, and try to hit it where they aren’t. I need to get on base for my team, because we want to score early. I need to get on right when the game starts…. Something that’s really important is to back adjustments within that first at-bat and not wait. That’s a tough balance to strike because you don’t like to overthink pitchers, but you also need to be up there, aware of the situation constantly, and hopefully I can get it started for the team.
A: How important has it been to bring in Julie [McDonald ’18] as the top starter?
AR: It was absolutely clutch. She’s really mature for a freshman, too. We needed that pitcher to give us extra depth, and now our pitching is some of the strongest in the NESCAC.
IL: Obviously she’s a great pitcher, but she’s also a great person to have on the team. After every inning, she’s hyping up every person on the team. She really pumps me up and does it for everybody out there.
A: Amanda, how do you view your role as captain?
AR: I see it as helping everyone stay up for every inning, really making sure we’re focused on the game. Our team does such a good job of that, though, that it’s pretty easy for me.
IL: Jill and Amanda treat their role as leaders, as opposed to authority figures, which is important for the team dynamic. They help keep pushing us, and Jill and Amanda have found that balance between coach and captain, captain and player, really well.
A: How has your coaching staff helped you guys improve as a team this year?
AR: People are really excited to go to practice, to be at practice, to put in work; and that’s part of the coaching staff, [keeping] things fast-paced and fun in practice, but at the same time staying serious.
IL: They know our team plays well when we’re loose. You don’t want to be out there afraid to make a mistake…. Tori and Nick bring so much excitement and so much energy to practice, because they were just doing this in college.
A: What do you see as your goals for the year, and how will you best go about achieving them?
AR: We want to go to NESCACs and win the Little Three. The main thing we have to worry about is staying focused, but I know our team has the potential as long as we stay focused and see what’s important.
IL: Echoing that, we’re at the point in the season when we have two, maybe three, weeks left. Everyone’s getting a little physically tired, but we can’t let ourselves be mentally tired. We have to be just as excited every day. But we’ve been plowing through. It’s been a really exciting season so far.
The women host Williams this weekend in a Little Three battle, starting with a game Friday, April 17, at 5 p.m. and continuing Saturday with a double header starting at noon. The team will honor its one senior, Jillian Gately, for Senior Day. They’ll also commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 2010 softball team’s NESCAC championship, which is to date the only women’s team at Wes to have won a NESCAC title.