Young core leads Pittsburg softball to hot start

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg Purple Dragons are 6-2 through their first eight games of the softball season.

“The only thing better would be to start off 8-0,” head coach Karen Curran says with a laugh, “We sure would like to have one of those games back and maybe be 7-1, but we’ll take 6-2 right now.”

“My freshman year, we had a bit of a rough season,” says junior Cheyanne Hunt, “It’s so much more fun to win and have a good team, and have everyone know about us and hear about us. It just feels great.”

Pittsburg doesn’t have a single senior on the roster.

Their lineup is made up of freshmen, and a big group of juniors who have stepped up to lead the way.

“It’s been easy for us to take on that role,” says junior Emery Kafka on the junior group being team leaders, “When seniors are there, juniors feel like they need to step back a little. With us, we have a great group of juniors that need to take those roles and lead each other, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

“Each and every one of them brings a different leadership quality that benefits the whole team,” Curran says of her junior class.

“We’ve had a freshman third baseman and a freshman shortstop, which is incredible,” Hunt adds, “and our freshmen pitchers, they do great.”

Chemistry has been key for the young Purple Dragons.

“Everyone knows that we like each other and we’re going to be there for each other,” Kafka says, “We have each other’s backs on and off the field. That’s really helped us a lot.”

“We win together, we lose together, we run together, we laugh together and we cry together,” Curran says, “It’s all of us, all in all the time for each other.”

Their offense has been big as well – posting 10 runs per game and 14 runs per game in their last four games.

“One of our big goals every game is to take the pressure off of us and put it on the other team,” Curran says of her offense, “When you get on the board first, it takes the pressure off. You’re able to play a little more relaxed and focus a little better.”

“We always tell our pitchers, we’ll back you up defensively and we’ll get you offensively,” Kafka adds, “Putting everything together has really helped us out.”

With their hot start and a young core, the Dragons have high expectations for not only this season – but next year as well.

“What a unique position for Pittsburg softball to be in at this point in time,” Curran says of building for the present and the future, “We’ve got great junior leadership, great sophomores on our team and great freshman. The future is bright. The future is great for these girls. They’re excited about what they’re doing right now.”

“Just being able to build on this and knowing that this is the same team and everyone is coming back next year, I think it will help us,” Kafka says, “It’s going to be good.”

“We’re not playing the best softball that we’re going to play all season,” Curran finishes, “If we can go 8-0 down the stretch at the end of the season, I’ll take that.”

Pittsburg will be back in action on Tuesday, hitting the road to face Columbus.

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