by Santino Torres / Staff Reporter
The Roosevelt Lakers softball team returned from its recent trip to Florida and brought back another win for the books of this promising 2020 season. There is just one more trip to Arizona in March before the team begins to look ahead to a home match against Siena Heights and then the beginning of conference play at St. Xavier.
“Florida was a great experience for our team to get a chance to play some tough competition and also play in warmer weather,” said Hailey Getz, a sophomore biology major and pitcher for the Lakers. “I think it was really important for our team to see competitive teams early in the year especially before our trip to Arizona in March.”
Head coach Aaron Moore is back for his fourth season at the helm. This year, he has been blessed with what he described as the best pitching staff he’s had in his career at Roosevelt.
“Our entire pitching staff, both returners and new pitchers, are really keeping us in games,” said Coach Moore. “We’re more athletic, more versatile with our pitching staff. We have pitchers who are performing better than they have so far in their careers, and we have some freshmen who are stepping up big.”
“We have two new freshmen pitchers, Kate Sisson and Lauren Watkins, that really add a unique dynamic to our staff this year,” Getz added. “They have come in strong and are ready to compete and dominate which I find really motivational.”
Anchoring the Laker offense this year will be senior biology major Caitlyn Santiago, who switched from third base to second base this season. A state champion from Oak Park and River Forest, she has been essential to the offense during her career at Roosevelt.
Last season, she was second on the team in hits and total bases, third in OPS and led the team in doubles. She also earned All-CCAC All-Academic Team honors for the second year in a row and was named a Daktronics NAIA Scholar Athlete. As a senior, her leadership will prove vital for the success of the team.
“I want to impact the people that are surrounding me, and I want them to know what work I put in to be here, and what I expect of them and how we’re going to build from here. I want everyone to remember me, even when I’m gone,” said Santiago, who leads the team in batting average and RBIs.
“We have a new hitting coach, and I’ve been working with him a lot. Hitting is super-contagious. In our first weekend at The Dome, people had gotten hits in front of me and people were getting hits behind me, so it was like, ‘keep going.’”
“She’s as competitive as they get,” said Coach Moore. “She’s really taking on a very big leadership role for our team. The moments are not too big for her, and I think she thrives on situations where she has to come through. She wants to win.”
Another key to this team will be senior Amber Green. While her glove has an impact on the field, Green is currently working on a two-game hitting streak and has hit safely in four of her last five games. As another returning senior on Coach Moore’s team, Green plays centerfield.
“Amber’s been super consistent in her entire career here,” Coach Moore said. “She finds ways to get on base. She usually puts together really good at-bats, but the thing with Amber is she’s so good on defense, that she helps us in more ways than offensively. She’s so valuable for our entire team.”
Getz said of Green, “A player that makes me extremely optimistic about just how great our season could be is one of our other senior captains, Amber Green. Amber puts in the extra work and does not hesitate going through fences to catch a ball.”
Coach Moore and Santiago both said that the main team goal this season is to escape conference play by earning that ever-elusive berth in the conference tournament.
“Our team goal is very, very simple: make the conference tournament, and win games in the conference tournament,” said Coach Moore.
“I think our major team goal is to make it to the conference tournament,” said Santiago. “It’s something that we’ve come up short every year and it’s by one game. We just want to be there, and know that we can compete with these teams.”