McDERMOTT — Don’t look now but Northwest’s softball program has won five of their last six games. After a slow start to the season, the Mohawks seem to have found a key to success.
Part of that success has hinged on the shoulders of senior catcher Laiken Rice, a future Kent State Golden Flash.
We had the chance to catch up with Laiken as the regular season winds down to discuss what she’s looking forward to, her best on-field traits and much, much more.
Q: Can you talk about your season so far, individually and team-wise, how it’s went and what you guys can improve on the most?
Rice: Our season has been awesome so far. We’ve got a couple of freshmen who have been playing a major part in our infield and several girls who have had to step out of their comfort zones and play new positions. They’ve been performing wonderfully. We’ve had solid games all-around and other games, it’s spotty. We just need to work on being solid in all aspects of the game before the tournament get here.
Q: You have a little over a month before you begin you transition to a college athlete. Has that hit you and how excited are you for that next chapter?
LR: I’m very excited for my next chapter at Kent State, but there is still business to be done here. I’m trying to take it one game and practice at a time and not get too far ahead of myself.
Q: What do you feel like your best on-field trait is and where’s an area that you can get better in?
LR: I feel like my best trait on the field is being vocal. I’m just trying to keep everyone engaged in the game and focused on what we need to do to succeed. I definitely need to work on having good games in both hitting and fielding. Consistency is key and performing great in both areas will help the team get some more wins and go farther into tournaments.
Q: You guys have had plenty of success lately. What’s been the key to the turnaround?
LR: Our success is mostly credited to our ability to adapt. We got a new coaching staff this year and we love Coach West, but change is something we accept well. We are all there for the same reason and we all have the same goal to be successful.
Q: When your team is playing to its full strength, what do you feel like its biggest strength is?
LR: Our biggest strength is the versatility of our team. Everyone on the team has played a different position this year and performed very well. We all understand that sometimes you have to do things that you wouldn’t normally do so the team can succeed. Our coach always says softball isn’t about what feels good. It’s true.
Q: How far can this team go and how would you like to see your season end?
LR: I think our team has the ability to go as far as we want. If we play like we know how and just stay consistent with our defense and everyone hits well, we will surprise a lot of people in the tournament. I don’t want to see the season end. Even though I get
to continue my softball career, it will be sad to leave this community and all the amazing people in it.
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