For three years Monica Sauber, utility, and Whitney Baker, infield, have played through the struggles, injuries and defeats of Builder softball. They have also experienced the victories and triumphs. Now seniors, they have inhereted a team that looks up to them as they once did the seniors when they were underclassmen. Both Sauber and Baker come into this year’s season with the task of leading their team into a successful season.
Sauber and Baker began playing together their freshman year in college. Three years later they are the lone seniors on the team. “I am hoping to have the best record we have had in three years,” said Baker. “To win conference and go to Nationals is one of our goals as a team and I know we can do it.”
“We have the talent,” said Sauber. “We can win conference. Beating Friends has been a goal for us since we split with them last year.”
It is not just the two seniors who feel optimistic about the upcoming season. “I could see their leadership skills taking us very far this year,” said Hillary Hull, sophomore pitcher. “We have the potential win the KCAC championship and with the leadership skills and positive attitudes of Monica and Whitney I could see this becoming a reality.”
Chelsea Fort, sophomore infielder, is also excited for the team’s chances. “Coming off of how good we did last year and in the pre-season, the chances we have at doing well this year are better than they ever have been,” she said. “We’re looking for a KCAC conference championship now more than ever. It’s going to be a great season.”
It is not all fun and games when it comes to game day though. “Most of us girls just get into that game frame of mind,” said Sauber. “When we wake up and it is game day, you just kind of get yourself into it. I like to be determined but also to have fun. That is one of the things we stress, we are out there to have fun.”
As for Baker, she gets prepared in her own way. “I am usually really nervous before games,” she said. “I usually just try to talk myself through it and we talk together as a team and that really helps. I just go out there and play like I know how, and do what I know how to do. If I make a mistake I try to shake it off and keep myself going.”
The two provide a necessary element for the team.
“We look to them for leadership,” said Amber Good, head softball coach. “They are very self-maintained, they know what their job is and they come in and do it every day. They were also voted team captains by their teammates.” It wasn’t just the fact that the two were seniors that they were voted team captains, she said. They earned it.
“Whitney’s leadership style would be more to lead by example,” said Sauber. “I am kind of the same way too, but I like to vocally get the girls going and be there for them and provide encouragement.” “Monica is definitely more outspoken than I am,” said Baker. “I just try to be there when someone needs me.”
It is one thing to be a team on the field, but it is a step up to stick together when it isn’t game day. “We always make sure we do stuff as a team, whether it is hang out or community service or anything,” said Sauber. “We all work well together and have a lot of respect for each other.”
Hull also sees the relationship of the team off the field as a positive aspect. “Our whole team is very close off the field,” said Hull. “Monica and Whitney are the first two to host a Christmas Party or a get together whenever we have a new recruit.”
It hasn’t been an easy road for Sauber or Baker to make it to where they are today. Sauber has broken her wrist three times in her life, the latest during sophomore year at SC. Both have also had to climb the academic ladder as well. “Being a nursing major, I don’t have a lot of extra time so I organize my time really well so I know what I need to do every day,” said Sauber. “You have to be determined and you have to have your heart in it.”
Baker agrees. “You really have to have a love for the game,” said Baker. “It also helps to have friends on the team because there will be times when someone wants to quit or doesn’t’ have the grades.”
Sauber and Baker’s last season will no doubt be an interesting one. With last year’s softball team finishing third in the KCAC tournament, there is little doubt that the two seniors will do their best to make their final year a memorable one.
The softball team’s first game begins at 2 p.m. on Feb. 23 in Moore, Ok. The Builders face off in a double-header against Hillsdale.