Grace Leben-Wollen, senior, has been playing softball for the majority of her life. She mainly plays first base and outfield and has preserved her love for the game over the years.
“I’m motivated to keep playing because softball has always been the love of my life and I have a big passion for softball,” Leben-Wollen said. “And so I’m just like, finish it out strong and keep going.”
This is Leben-Wollen’s last year playing for the varsity softball team. She is excited about free time in the future, but she sees herself missing it.
“I just recently stopped being a two-sport athlete like my whole life,” Leben-Wollen said. “And so just kind of finding more like me time I guess to relax but I do want to look to play like clubs or like airmail or softball with friends of mine next year at [University of Oregon].”
Gina Garvey-Metzler, the new main coach for softball, is making an impact on the team. Leben-Wollen notices the change in attitude Garvey-Metzler is impacting her teammates.
“She [Garvey-Metzler]’s not fully drill-focused, but she definitely takes input from us players about what we want to work,” Leben-Wollen said. “For example, we want to practice diving in. So she got us a mat she, uses her resources to get us what we need and what we need to work on. She definitely appreciates, and looks into her players and takes care of her players.”
With the upcoming season, Leben-Wollen sees the team as ready to play. She thinks they feel gelled and coordinated.
“I definitely feel prepared,” Leben-Wollen said. “I know my teammates feel prepared. We’ve been practicing really well and working really hard. Like none of us even went to the basketball game. Like we all practiced. We’ve been out there every day rain or shine, practicing. Getting ready for the season. Definitely taking a lot of cuts before and after practice to get extra cuts in for sure.”
As the team progresses, the teammate’s relationships with each other have further developed as well. With all of the changes, this season feels like a fresh start to Leben-Wollen.
“I think we have a strong team dynamic,” Leben-Wollen said. “I know this group of seniors has been through a lot. So it’s really nice to kind of finish it out together and start a new chapter with a new coach, new team. And I really think it’s like a good group of girls who all already know each other pretty well. But we’re getting to know each other even more, which is really good.”