Haiden Widener, Campus Carrier Sports Editor
|Bailey Albertson | CAMPUS CARRIER|
Sophomore Lauren Evans bats during the Vikings’ double hitter against Wesleyan College on Wednesday, March 22. Viking softball is the number one Division III team in the nation.
The national rankings are out, and Berry softball has taken the top spot in Division III for the second week in a row.
Our team earned first in the nation after a committee of Division III coaches analyzed their strength of schedule, win-loss percentage and overall record.
Cori Thiermann, head softball coach, credits the program’s success to everyone who has been involved.
“It speaks volumes on how hard our current and past players have worked,” she said. “There’s a lot of people who have put effort into this program that aren’t just the people standing on the field.”
Both Thiermann and junior second baseman Kylie Aiken agree that the teams’ chemistry and selflessness on the field is what sets them apart from their opponents.
“The players take a lot of pride in what they do every day,” Thiermann said. “And that translates into program wide success.”
With only two losses on the season, the team’s record is 26-2.
The first loss came from a walk off home-run by Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. But the team quickly bounced back, winning their next seven games before losing to Depauw in a close 10-7 showdown.
While the team is excited about this ranking, they understand that they cannot lose focus on the rest of the season.
“It feels the same as if we weren’t number one,” said Aiken. “If anything it just changes our mentality to play every game harder.”
They have 11 games left before heading into the SAA conference tournament.
If they win the tournament they automatically advance to regionals, where their season ended last year in the championship game.
While the number one ranking is great right now, the team hopes to end the season with the same ranking and a national championship victory in Oklahoma City this summer.
With a lot of games left, their focus is on getting those victories first.
“We aren’t in it to be number one right now,” Thiermann said. “Our end goal is to win the last game of the year.”
Aiken agrees, recognizing that the focus of the team will stay in the present.
“Coach always tells us to never take anyone lightly,” Aiken said. “Since we’re number one, every team wants nothing more than to beat us. Our end goal is to win that last game in Oklahoma City, but to get there you have to start small, so we focus on one practice and one game at a time.”
The Vikings’ next home game on April 8 against Rhodes at noon.