ESU softball cleans up fields after games
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When Julie LemMaire, head softball coach, came to Emporia State, she knew that not only would maintaining a winning program be important, but she and her team would also have to maintain their own field.
This year, the team has had a stellar season. They just cinched a conference championship and are currently ranked thirteenth in the country in Division II. They have been nearly unbeatable at Trusler Sports Complex with a 14-2 record.
“I’ve only been at Division II and played at Division II myself, and it’s just one of those things you have to do at this level,” LeMaire said. “At this level, a lot of times your athletic department is smaller and doesn’t have as many positions and so the maintenance crew for Trusler is also the maintenance crew at the university.”
LeMaire said that the main reason the softball team has to do their own fieldwork is due to the hours that they practice and play games.
“They’re (the maintenance crew) the people that do all the work around the university and their hours are limited and they aren’t anywhere around the hours we play, so they are gone by three o’clock and we’re playing at seven. So at this level, you have jobs to do,” LeMaire said.
LeMaire said she’s lucky with the players she has had, especially the ones she has now.
“Win or lose you still have to do the same jobs and while it’s not an ideal situation to deal with after a loss it still has to get done,” LeMaire said.
While the team has enjoyed great success on the field, both this season and in years past. Some of the team says that you need a good team chemistry to be successful and that comes from the hard work put in after the games raking the fields.
“I feel like it gives our team a sense of pride and ownership to work on our field. It is also an experience you can’t learn in the classroom, it brings our team closer together and our coach knows we will do whatever needs to be done to play on our field,” said Jacie Stephens, freshman recreation major and catcher.
The upperclassmen said it’s all a part of playing ESU softball.
“After you lose, it’s annoying and it would be nice if there were people to do it, but it’s just part of the game,” Stephens said. “It’s a daily occurrence, anyway, so you get use to it after a while. It’s new to the freshmen.”
So whether it be due to a great coaching staff, talented players or the team chemistry that comes from taking care of their field, this team is willing to do whatever it takes for their teammates, coaches and the name on the front of their jerseys.