An empty dugout

Exploring how the lack of players affects the softball and baseball teams.

Arjun Dhruv, Staff Writer

At the beginning of the spring sports season, the Varsity Softball team was unsure if they would have a season this year due to a lack of players. They were fortunate to recruit enough players to continue with their season, but junior and shortstop Cara Constant believes that the lack of players has affected the team’s dynamic, and could potentially affect its performance in the future as well.

Photo by Kalyani Puthenpurayil

Constant feels that keeping the softball program alive and steady will be difficult, especially due to the difficult nature of the game. The team has 10 players this year, a decrease from 15 last year. Of the 10, four players are learning to play the game for the first time.

“I think softball is not a super popular sport and the game itself is super difficult,” Constant said. “There’s not a Cupertino league like there used to be, so we’ve been trying to reach out to people but they are kind of nervous and don’t want to learn how to play such a complicated sport.” 

Varsity Baseball faces the same issue: a lack of players created instability regarding the future of the team. Head Coach Shawn Voigt also sees Constant’s depiction of the game of softball in baseball, establishing the complexity of the sport as a reason for low appeal for the team.

“Baseball is a hard sport to get into; there’s a lot of different rules and it’s very nuanced,” Voigt said. “If I was a kid, deciding whether to play basketball or baseball and no one prompted me to play baseball, I would definitely like to be a basketball or football player [instead]. It takes some more effort to get into the sport.”

However, Voigt maintains an optimistic mindset about the future of the baseball program. Voigt believes the lack of players could be a good thing for the team, as it could motivate the players to do better.

“As a baseball team, they know that without the [new players], the team wouldn’t exist, but instead of taking that sense of freedom for granted, they’ve developed a really strong connection with each other, developing their competitiveness being the common [motivator to improve],” Voigt said. “Without the looming threat of failing expectations, they’re free to be relaxed and play a little more freely.”

Senior and pitcher Xander Mommer has also seen an increase in effort on the field and intensity in the locker room compared to his previous years on the team. He believes that this was one of the factors that caused the team to bring in the players that they have now. 

Graphic by Sonia Verma

“There isn’t much for recruitment, but there’s been a lot more effort,” Mommer said. “We’ve been doing summer practices, which helped bring people in that maybe didn’t know about the program.”

Mommer believes that in his four years on the team, he has seen significant improvements in the program. He also finds that joining the baseball team allowed him to foster close relationships with his teammates and coaches, which benefited his overall experience at MVHS. Mommer recommends that anyone who is at all interested in joining the team do so, as he is optimistic for the future.

“It’s gonna be really good,” Mommer said. “We had a low point where we weren’t sure if we’re gonna still have a team or not. [In] my freshman year, we didn’t know if it would last until this long. But there [have] definitely been improvements, and I think there’s a really bright future ahead.