In the Locker Room with Jenny Goldsmith and Katie Pieplow


Yingran Nan Zhang

Jenny Goldsmith (left) and Katie Pieplow

Tyler Sloan, Editor in Chief

This week, the Review sat down with softball seniors and co-captains Katie Pieplow and Jenny Goldsmith to discuss their upcoming season, a spring break trip to Florida and their expectations for their senior season.

You have both been on the softball team since your first year at Oberlin. How have you seen the team progress?

Katie Pieplow: I think our freshman year, it was very different than it is now because it was Coach [Mimi Mahon]’s first year. As we have been able to work with her more and more, we’ve been able to grow as a cohesive unit, as opposed to people who are fighting against each other a lot of the time.

Jenny Goldsmith: I would agree with that. I think it has just been interesting. I definitely feel like the team has gotten better. I think we have always had a lot of talent, and I think the team has just really grown to have the same mindset, so we can use that talent really productively.

How have the first-years contributed so far to the team?

KP: We’re not used to having a super-young team. We’re used to having a team that’s young, but always with a group of upperclassmen, and now we only have three upperclassmen. And one of them is in basketball. So for this part of our season, we only have two upperclassmen, and everyone else is a freshman or a sophomore. It’s great because they’re super enthusiastic and we love working with them, but also it gets really overwhelming because you have always expected there to be these people above you who always know what they’re doing and you can just follow them.

JG: It’s been a lot of fun, but a lot of work, getting everyone on the same page — getting everyone on board with what we’re trying to do.

What are your expectations for this season?

KP: Our expectations are high, that’s for sure. We expect to do a lot this season, and I think we are in a very good place to accomplish these goals that we have set out for ourselves.

JG: We have a lot of big, overarching goals for the season. We really are expecting big things. We have also been working a lot on the practice-by-practice, game-by-game mental aspect of everything, and just really focusing on continuing to push forward every day.

What are the overarching goals? Is there a specific team you want to beat?

KP: Everybody. I think our huge goal for this season is to make it to the conference tournament and to compete at a high level there. Obviously, if we don’t focus on each game and each individual aspect then there’s no way we can make it there. So, even though that is our goal as a team, it’s not what we’re focused on right now. Right now we are focused on preparing for this season.

How has your practice schedule worked with the weather recently?

JG: We are always indoors this time of year. We’re really hoping we actually get to play this weekend. We’re used to this, and that’s just been another thing, trying to get everyone used to how we have to do things.

KP: I think after four years, at this point we have come to expect being able to switch from dirt to turf, back and forth, multiple times over the course of the season. But even just the physical aspect of it — the ball comes off differently, you’re not playing outside, you don’t have these different elements to compete with. Not being able to perform as well after playing so long on the other [field type] messes with you not only physically, but also mentally. It kind of gets you down, and we work hard on combating that. You can take the first 10 minutes of a practice or game outside and you can do little fundamental drills to watch the ball off the dirt or the grass, and I think we try to work hard on making sure everyone is comfortable stepping forward.

JG: Last year we didn’t go outside in Ohio until April 15. So we expect to be inside for a while, and we work really hard to make the most out of it. We do what we can.

How have you been preparing for this season especially?

KP: We do our workouts with the team, but also we spend a lot of time outside of practice talking to each other, talking to coach, trying to keep everyone on the same page and keep everyone moving in the direction that is most beneficial to the team. So we do not only practice stuff, but we also do a lot of planning beforehand and deconstructing afterwards.

What are you most excited for this season?

KP: I think I’m most excited this year for our conference games. This is our last year, so I think Jenny and I both have worked very hard on getting and staying very prepared for our senior season. This is something we love to do and we’ve been doing for our entire lives.

JG: Our freshman year we played 10 games down in Florida, and in past years we have switched back to eight because we had to come back for a conference game here. But we actually are going to get to stay for 10 games again this year. So it’s exciting to just get two more games in with almost guaranteed great weather.