By | Danny Dunn
In her second season as the Humboldt State Softball head coach, Shelli Sarchett led her team to 54-8 record and came one win shy of winning a national championship. Sarchett herself was a key player in the 1999 Humboldt State national championship. She knows a thing or two about winning and instills that culture as head coach.
Q: What can you attribute most to the success of the past couple seasons?
A: It’s really just bringing in athletes who know how to work hard and that they want to win. These guys put in a lot of hours and know what their ultimate goal is.
Q: When you say ultimate goal, is that winning a national title?
A: Our ultimate goal, well obviously we want them all to get a degree, but our ultimate goal softball wise, is to win a national championship. That’s why we bring these girls here, and that is what they are expecting, so we work hard to reach that goal.
Q: What are your expectations going into this season?
A: It’s really the same thing that we’ve expected in the past. Last year, we finished number two in the nation and this year, we expect to get back to the national tournament and win that last game that results in a national championship. Our goals really don’t change from year to year.
Q: The goals do not change, but the players do, can you speak on if there are any major losses from last year to this?
A: We lost our number two pitcher, but we’ve brought in some pitchers, and have some returning pitchers that didn’t see a lot of time last year, so they’re stepping up in the circle. We lost our starting shortstop but we’ve made adjustments in our starting lineup to move some players around and help with that loss. Same thing at third base, we lost a fifth-year senior… we might be a little less experienced on the left side of the field, but we bring in athletes who are ready to play.
Q: What is the biggest strength of this team?
A: The comradery these guys have. They are a family, they want to work hard for themselves and their teammates. Their biggest strength is leadership… the seniors have been to the national tournament and know what it takes to get there again… they’re helping newcomers and lower classmen play Humboldt style softball.
Q: Do you have any preseason motivation for the team?
A: It’s the same thing we’ve said since our first meeting, you have to buy into this; because if you are not ready to buy into this, then we won’t be able to work toward a national championship… you can’t take a day off and expect to win a national championship. It’s really great to see these guys respond to the challenges we give them every day, knowing that if we meet these challenges, a national championship is within our reach.
The players want to win as much as the coaches do. It is one of the reasons they choose the Humboldt State softball program. Transfer student Lona Dengler hopes to earn a starting outfield position this season.
“I wanted to play for the best team in division II,” Dengler said.
Senior pitcher Kalyn Paque spoke on coach Shelli’s message of playing unselfish ball.
“Absolutely, do it for the person next to you,” Paque said. “Always pick up your teammates…no selfish behavior on this team.”
With this mentality, the HSU women’s softball team will look to get back to the national tournament, and possibly bring a championship trophy back with them.