By Carolyn Linck, '11
Junior infielder Kristin Welsh (KW) looks to follow up her stellar sophomore season with an even stronger showing in 2011. Recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, Welsh hopes to again lead the Broncos in hitting and improve her accuracy fielding. Recently www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with Welsh about her goals for the upcoming season, the many new faces on the team and how she balances school with softball.
SCB: You were Santa Clara's top hitter in 2010 with a .322 batting average. What do you attribute your success at the plate to? How are you working to continue your success in the upcoming season?
KW: I would definitely say the key to my success at the plate last year was confidence. Every single person playing at the collegiate level has the talent to be a successful hitter; the mental aspect is what hinders many softball players. Being able to stay confident and relaxed even when you are struggling is the only way to get past it. That's what allowed me to stay consistent all year. This past summer I had shoulder surgery, which was caused by hitting, so right now I'm really focusing on strengthening my shoulder and getting it back and ready to go by the time season starts.
SCB: There are seven freshmen on the team this year. What is it like with so many new faces? What do you feel the new girls bring to the team?
KW: I love having so many new faces around! It's definitely a different composition than we've had in the past; the upperclassmen are almost outnumbered! We were very fortunate to get some really great talent out of this freshmen class, and I think they can really add to our pitching and hitting this year.
SCB: As an upperclassman are you helping the freshmen adjust in anyway? What's the best advice you can give them?
KW: I would say the upperclassmen really try to keep the freshmen motivated. As an incoming freshman, the amount of time and effort that is required of a collegiate athlete is definitely more intense than most high school programs along with the school work. It can be very draining and overwhelming for them at first. Little things like asking how they feel or how school is going really help because they know they have someone to talk to or someone they can ask for help. The best advice I could give the freshmen is to give it your all! Yes, it's difficult at the moment, but as I'm getting older I realize the short amount of time I have left to play and how important it is to enjoy every moment of it.
SCB: You were named to the 2010 Pacific Coast Softball Conference Academic Honor Roll. What is your major, and how do you balance softball and school?
KW: I am sociology major and am minoring in Political Science, Spanish and International Business. It definitely took me about a year to figure out how to balance both athletics and academics. It takes a lot of working ahead and you can't procrastinate. I start projects, papers and presentations weeks before they are due in order to finish them on time and do a good job.
SCB: What are your goals for the upcoming season on a team and individual level?
KW: I would like us to finish as a top team in our conference. We have more than enough talent; it will just take all of us working together to reach our goals as a team and individually. We have great chemistry on this team, and I see us playing competitively as a whole. As for myself, I would like to increase my batting average to around .350. I was there for a good part of last year; however, it dropped because of the injury to my shoulder. I want to prove to myself that I can be a consistent .350 hitter throughout the whole season. Fielding percentage is another aspect I would like to focus on this season. Each year my fielding has been a little more accurate and I'd like it to continue to improve.
Welch and the rest of the Bronco softball team will open the season at San Jose State on Sun., Feb. 20.