Vaughn DiBattista (email@example.com)
On May 4th, 2008, the Ursinus softball team beat Dickinson 3-0 to win the Centennial Conference championship. This championship would be their second in four years and their fifth in program history. The 2008 team was truly a sight to see, having won 38 games and making it all the way to the NCAA regional final. Led by Coach Terry McGowan, the Ursinus softball team would prove to be a dominant force in not only the conference, but the nation, and the future was looking brighter than ever for the Bears.
Despite their success in the 2000s, the softball team suffered a decline in the 2010s. After winning the championship in 2008, the Bears found minor success. The team would post a solid 28 win season in 2010, which was followed by a meek 18 win season in 2011. The Bears lost their winning ways, and found themselves struggling to get back to that championship team we saw in 2008. In 2012, the Bears saw the departure of storied coach Terry McGowan, and entered a new age. Enter Coach Samantha Campo.
After a decorated playing career at McDaniel, Coach Campo saw even more success as the head coach at Gettysburg. Coach Campo posted 101 wins in her five years at Gettysburg, and even won the Centennial Conference coach of the year in 2010. In 2013, Ursinus hired coach Samantha Campo to bring her winning attitude to Collegeville.
“Coach Campo has contributed to our success by always showing up and wanting to fight for wins just as much as we do,” emphasized sophomore infielder Sara Sullivan. “We see how much Coach Campo wants to win, and we all hold the utmost respect for her. We want to work hard for her.”
In 2019, the Bears returned to the Centennial Conference playoffs for the first time in seven years. Despite losing to Swarthmore, the Bears saw a glimpse of their potential, and knew that they were destined to get back to where they were in 2008. The team was getting back on track, all until the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID, along with a shortened season in 2021. With the return in 2022, the Bears are getting back on track, and currently boast a 13-10 record. They are showing glimpses of that 2008 championship team, and are already miles ahead of the 2019 playoff team.
“This success is due to an all around team effort,” said star senior Mackenzie Brennan. “Every day in practice, we have the goal of working as hard as possible to reach our goal of winning the conference. With this goal-oriented mindset, we push each other to compete on the field and preserve as a team to be successful. This team is special and we have the chance to be the best Ursinus softball team this program has had in decades.”
That hard work that Brennan talked about has been the difference maker for the Bears this year, and Brennan has exemplified exactly that. The senior is currently maintaining a mind-boggling .418 batting average, tallying 33 hits and 14 RBI in 23 games. Brennan was a key contributor on the 2019 playoff team, and she will leave behind a winning legacy upon her graduation in May.
Despite losing Brennan to graduation, the Ursinus Bears are looking locked and loaded to continue their success for a long time. Ursinus is in good hands next year with Juniors Alexis Miller, Jordan Moore, and Amanda Panati, all returning for their senior seasons next year. Miller has excelled on the mound this year, boasting 26 strikeouts and 3 saves. Panati and Moore have also been stellar at the plate, with the pair combining for 2 home runs and 19 RBI. On top of a strong junior class, the team boasts a shining group of young infielders in sophomores Maddie Sollow, and Sam Williams. The pair has absolutely lit up the scoring sheet this season, combining for four home runs and 23 RBI so far. The sophomores have been spectacular so far this season, and it is safe to say that Ursinus is in good hands amidst the departure of Mackenzie Brennan. It is apparent that the Bears are getting-back to that winning culture that they boasted in 2008. This team wants nothing other than to win, and they are willing to work as hard as possible to do just that. With a strong leader in Samantha Campo paired with a star-studded roster, this team is showing signs of greatness, and this team expects nothing less than greatness.