HELENA — With just six conference games left in the season, time is running out as the Carroll College softball team tries to make the playoffs for the second straight year.
Carroll College, University of Providence, and University of British Columbia all sit within one game of each other in the Cascade Collegiate Conference standings, and the final six teams that are vying for the final two playoff spots are all within three games of each other.
Carroll College, though, has been presented with an opportunity to control its own destiny. Back-to-back series against the Thunderbirds and the Argonauts can help secure a spot in this year’s playoffs, and Saints head coach Aaron Jackson is well aware of the scenario.
“We need to win two series to help solidify our spot in the postseason, as the standings sit right now. So there’s a lot that could change in the next two weeks. It’s as simple as that. If we take care of business against (British Columbia) and then our rival in Providence, then we’ll get back to the postseason and it’s 0-0,” said Jackson as Carroll College took batting practice Thursday afternoon.
To put it plainly, the Saints have struggled this season, posting a 7-14 conference record. Poor weather and travel can be put on display as reasons for the struggles. Jackson said he has confidence in his team’s ability to handle the pressure, though, saying, “we feel like if we get to that point, we’re going to be just as tough as any team that’s there.”
And as a season dwindles, it’s easy for players to develop a mentality described as ‘paralysis by analysis,’ where overthinking can prove to be a team’s or individual’s downfall. For freshman outfielder Amber Brewer, the playoffs are something to consider while off the field, but on the field she does her best to play loose.
“Playoffs are always going to be in the back of my mind throughout the season, but when you’re on the field, you just need to go out there and play, because it’s a game,” Brewer said. “You just need to set aside all the politics and all the rankings and all that, just set it aside and just play, because you’re going to get the best results if you just go out there and do your thing.”
The Saints will get their chance to pave their destiny when they host the British Columbia Thunderbirds for a doubleheader on April 19 at 2 p.m.