The team was out scored, 160-47 in their first 12 games last season. (Photo courtesy of the MCC Athletics Department)

Mesa Community College softball season preview

The Mesa Community College softball team is looking to bounce back after their 11-33 campaign a year ago.

The Lady T-Birds faced multiple obstacles during the season, especially in the beginning of the year, as they had the majority of their non-conference games to start the year be canceled due to COVID-19 protocols

Most seasons, teams have a stretch of roughly six to ten non-conference games to start the year. 

These games are primarily used to prepare the team for the long and grueling 40-plus game conference portion of the schedule. 

Without those games that allow a coach to see what their team is made of against other competition, head coach Grady Moorhead and his club were already off to a rough start to their season. 

“We started off right away in conference play. It was challenging for us to get off to that good start and kind of get our feet wet without a non-conference start,” said Moorhead.

As the season progressed, the team’s lack of quality pitching made it tough for them to be able to stay in games. 

With the conference’s worst earned run average of 11.52, both the defense and offense felt the pressure to perform more than normal since they had to attempt to dig themselves out of holes in many games throughout the season.

One bright spot for the team this season is Alex Reeve, who was named to the All-ACCAC Second team and All-Region I team last year. 

Reeve led the team in doubles with 16, home runs with 12, and RBI’s with 46 as she fell just one short of the school record.

Reeve was not even sure if she would play collegiate softball out of high school, but her success last season is no surprise to Moorhead as his star outfielder would come to practices early and stay late on a normal basis to improve her craft.

Reeve attributes her success to her coach, who helped her play the game one pitch at a time and not feel the pressure to win the game with one swing.

“It was really Grady’s coaching and his philosophy of staying in the moment, and taking on pitch at a time and not getting too caught ahead in the future and just playing the cards you’ve been dealt in the moment,” said Reeve.

Even though freshmen may be inexperienced and not sure of the level of play to rise to in order to be successful at the next level, it does not mean they can’t come in and make an impact. 

Leilanie Dalizon, who will play infield, Jerzey Gutierrez, who will pitch, and Adele Didriksen, who will patrol the outfield, are just three freshmen that Moorhead is excited to put on the field this season.

One of the most challenging aspects of a coach’s job is helping their team embrace the grind, but also not to fall out of love with the sport and dread coming to practices or team events. 

With the game of softball, players are in action for four to six games in a week at times, all while practicing and preparing for their next game. 

In order to keep things fresh and fun for his team, Moorhead will give the team a day directed towards forging the team’s connection and enjoying time together as opposed to pushing his team past their limits. 

Whether it’s a game of ultimate frisbee, or competitions between small groups within his team, Moorhead does everything he can to keep his team on their toes.

“One day we might be in an intense practice and the next we might split our team up and we might have a contest between the blue and red team to see who can get the most bunts down,” said Moorhead.

For Reeve, failure is something that will always be a part of the game she loves. From striking out to overthrowing your cut off, you must be okay with not being perfect, and Reeve is well aware of that especially with such a long season. 

Nobody is accustomed to losing or not playing up to their ability, but at times when the inevitable happens, it’s important to have the right mindset to make sure your lows don’t drag you to a place you can’t get out of.

“Softball is a game of failure and you need to expect failure to happen, and once you can accept that, move on and bounce back then it shows a good ball player,” said Reeve.

Being able to play in non-conference games to start the year the team can not only get their feet wet and see what they have in their dugout, but they can also set goals for themselves as a team.

“I want to go into these games and play them just like we would with conference games,” said Reeve, “These games are really really good to prepare us for these games and I want to see the energy and excitement.”

The team will begin their season on Jan. 28 at home against the Grand Canyon University club team at home. They will start conference play Feb.7 as they will host  South Mountain Community College.


Welcome to the Mesa Legend! Subscribe to know more about what goes on at Mesa Community College!