First Look at GC softball

Christian Castillo, Contributing Writer

With opening day of the 2023 season days away, GC softball is eager to get back out on the field. Last season, GC Softball had an underwhelming year, with records of 12-32 in the regular season, 4-20 in Peach Belt Conference play. 

With a strong group returning, and a new wave of players, the Bobcats are equipped with an improved team, more experience and undetermined expectations. 

After last year’s performance, the first aspect of the team in question is mindset. The Bobcats have a competitive mindset entering the season, starting at the top with the team’s head coach, Jamie Grodecki. 

“As a staff we put a lot of time into this recruiting class, and we believe that, with the addition of these new faces and our returners in place, we can have a very successful season,” Grodecki said. “We have been pushing them hard, and I believe it will give them the confidence to get it done when it matters most. We have great leaders, and the ladies seem to work well together.” 

During the offseason, Grodecki reloaded as best as possible, putting lots of work recruiting players out of high school and the transfer portal.

“We made an effort to bring in a couple girls out of junior college as well as our incoming freshman,” Grodecki said. “We have brought players that will add both depth in all positions and experience from successful programs.” 

After last season, the Bobcats have nowhere to go but up from here. If last year was anything, it was a learning year.

“We are on a mission to put our softball program back at the top of our conference and back in the hunt for postseason play, where we have been, historically,” Grodecki said. “This group has the ability and talent to get us back on track.”

Everything sounds good from the top. Now what matters is that the players are ready to win some games. One thing is for certain: The team has bought into Grodecki’s attitudes of being ready to win and bringing GC back. 

One key player returning for the Bobcats is redshirt-senior infielder Katelyn Hobbs. Hobbs was a huge contributor for the team a year ago and has the most experience of any player on the team.

“[I want to] make the most of my last year and get better while not taking anything for granted,” Hobbs said. “I want to make every moment count with my teammates. We started a new thing called ‘be the palm,’ and we will have an inflatable palm tree in the dugout. It is a reminder to roll with the punches. We will bend like a palm tree instead of breaking.” 

With many players returning from a season ago, the players are extremely familiar with one another.

“Our biggest strength is definitely our chemistry,” Hobbs said. “We are very close as a team, and it shows on the field. We are also a versatile team, so no matter what girls are in we can play.” 

Team chemistry and squad depth will be key factors to a good season. The crucial depth will be supplied by younger and incoming players, such as freshman Emily Hobbs, who is the younger sister of fifth-year player Katelyn Hobbs. 

“I am so excited to begin my college career,” Hobbs said. “I can not wait to play at the next level. I feel like I fit extremely well into this team, which was beyond welcoming.” 

The Bobcats are going to benefit from younger players aspiring to contribute and compete. 

“I hope to contribute on both offense and defense,” Hobbs said. “I want to make plays and get on base to score some runs. I want to earn a spot on the team and work hard each and every day for the team’s success.” 

This season could be a major bounce-back for the Bobcats, who are coming off a disappointing campaign last year. On all levels of the team, the attitude is clear. Leave last year in the past. It is a new group, a new year, and they are ready to compete and win. GC will look for a strong start against Fort Valley State on Feb. 5 for their home opener.