Team optimistic about chance at fresh start

Softball players, coaches seek to improve after a rough 2014 season

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

The softball team had a rough 2014 season. However, the revolving door that is community college athletics seems to be working in the Comets’ favor, as a new crop of athletes looks to erase the bad taste that was left in the collective mouths of those involved with CCC softball last year.

Coach Karolyn Gubbine has another chance to re-institute the mission statement that defines her coaching philosophy, which is to passionately dedicate herself to her athletes by teaching them skill knowledge and love for the game.

The coach has already made an impression on her young squad.

“I didn’t hear anything positive or negative about the team before I came here,” CCC freshman pitcher Melissa Watkins said. “Win or lose I’ll always play my heart out. That’s all anyone can offer — hopefully we win more than we lose.”

The previous squad couldn’t get out of its own way. They lost focus and never learned to get over the losing hump.

Gubbine took time to do some extra recruiting ahead of this upcoming season.

“There is still somewhat of a stigma surrounding our program so you have to balance practice time and recruiting,” Gubbine said. “I’ve been to schools all throughout the area — there is a lot of un-tapped talent out there.”

The coach will not use the previous season’s highs or lows to measure this team’s level of success. She understands that contrasting attitudes and a lack of team cohesion was a factor in last year’s results.

Gubbine has taken steps to get the squad to gel early on.

There are no cliques in her practices. All of the players participate in equipment set up and communicate with each other throughout the sessions.

“When it’s time to focus we tone it down, but bonding and laughing together is something that’s going to help in the long run.” Gubbine said.

“We work together as a team in practice. She (coach Gubbine) doesn’t compare us to other teams. She motivates us, she also makes sure we all spend time together away from the field,” Comet first baseman Alexus Dailey said.

The high turnover rate does not mean the rebuilding CCC squad is in any way in the clear, however, with new faces comes a level of inexperience that offers challenges of a different kind.

Like any coach with an extremely young team, realistic expectations are one of the keys to not overwhelming a unit too soon.

“I’m just looking to keep a positive outlook,” Gubbine said. “With only one returning player, there are a lot of new faces — I’m just looking to let everyone know we can compete.”

Whether wanted or not, the numbers put up by the 2015 softball team will inevitably be compared to the previous squad.

Owning a record of 5-21-1 overall 4-16 in the Bay Valley Conference, which was sufficient for fifth place, the team will not have a long way to go to prove more successful than last year.

With the final roster still pliable, the coach is still trying out players in hopes of garnering a larger pool of players from which to draw.

The Comets will take the field Feb. 5 at noon at home against Chabot College. The team will bring a new look, renewed intensity, and optimism ahead of the impending season.