Softball team finishes up fall practices


Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern redshirt senior pitcher Jade Montgomery winds up to throw a pitch during a scrimmage in practice on Oct. 8 at Coaches Field.

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

The Eastern softball team wrapped up its 20-hour weeks of fall practices last week.

After having their season canceled just before the start of conference play in the spring, the Panthers were able to work together as a team for the first time since March, and head coach Tara Archibald said she was happy the team was able to get some work in and thought the Panthers made the most of their chances.

“I thought they really took advantage of the opportunity to be out here,” she said. “I think we all felt blessed to be out here.”

She also said she thought she was able to assess the team well as they move ahead toward the start of the 2021 season.

“We learned so much about our team, and now we’re looking forward to getting into individuals and working on the things we need to work on,” she said. 

To finish up the run of 20-hour weeks, Archibald said the team took a different approach based on the Athletes Unlimited softball league that played its inaugural season this fall.

Athletes Unlimited was made up of 56 players on four teams sharing the same stadium in Rosemont, Illinois. The rosters changed week-to-week and team captains selected the rosters each week to construct four new teams.

Players could earn points through their play during the week, and the four highest scorers were named the captains for the next week.

Archibald said the approach was helpful in getting the team involved in more aspects of the game.

“We learned how to make rosters and what the rules of the game are and how to work a lineup card, and all those things. So it was really good,” she said. “The girls really enjoyed watching the Athletes Unlimited online this fall or on TV this fall, so we played off of it and had a Panthers Unlimited series. The captains were the top scorers for all fall and then played it out and had some winners at the end. It was fun. It was a good learning experience for everyone.”

Archibald also said a large roster caused by the cancellation of last season helped make the scrimmages more effective.

“We do have a bigger roster size this year, so it allowed for some really good scrimmages, she said. “Although we weren’t able to play outside competition, I still think we were able to get some really, really high-quality scrimmages in and let our freshmen get comfortable. And you could see that. Throughout the fall, they got better and better and better.”


Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]