Keene State College softball plays a schedule full of doubleheaders
Most sports are played one game at a time, and by the end there just isn’t enough time left in the day for another. Softball, however, seems to lend itself to playing games back-to-back.
Keene State College head softball coach Charlie Beach said softball is a quick game, so it just makes sense to play double headers.
“To play a team like West Conn., it takes three hours to drive there, 90 minutes for us to warm up, and the game could be over in an hour,” Beach said.
It is a rule in the Little East Conference that every team must play each other twice.
In most cases, this means each team would play one home game and one away game against each opponent. Softball’s schedule, however, consists entirely of double headers.
“Instead of driving six hours to play a team, then have them drive six hours to play you later, doesn’t it make more sense to play both games at once and alternate playing home and away each season?” Beach said.
[singlepic id=171 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Playing doubleheaders is convenient for softball because it is such a short game, and it’s something that is unique to the sport.
“It’s a time frame thing for us,” sophomore Nicole Dupuis said. “It takes an hour and a half to play a game; baseball takes an hour to play three innings so you can’t do it there.”
Because of the time issue, the Owls baseball team has far fewer double headers on its schedule and the days they do play double headers take the entire day. A baseball double header could consist of around six hours of baseball with almost no time between games.
The most pressing problem with doubleheaders in a game like softball is pitching. Pitchers can’t handle the stress of playing games back-to-back.
“You better have more pitchers. I have four and I make game plan based on who we’re facing,” Beach said. “Of course everyone has a game plan until they start getting hit.”
Another issue that arises from double headers is players slumping. If a player goes 0 for 4 in their first game, how can they go out there and bounce back for a game an hour later?
“You can’t let yourself get down. You need to pick your head up and have confidence in your team,” Dupuis said.
Beach said he doesn’t let his players dwell on past events. He said he doesn’t allow any big celebrations by his players.
He said he doesn’t let his players get down on themselves about past mistakes. Whether they win or lose, they just concentrate on the next game.
Beach said if players don’t do well in the first game they just have to suck it up and correct things for the next game.
“If a soccer player has a bad first half, you wouldn’t tell them to give up and sit out the second half, you tell them to get back out there,” Beach said.
Freshman outfielder Julia Gray said playing double headers is a more fair system for the teams who play.
She said that one team might play a bad game or have a really bad inning, and the second game gives them another chance.
“You can always learn from your mistakes.” Gray said. “You can look at what you did, fix it, and do it better.”
Dupuis said she prefers double headers because she typically plays catcher for the first game and third base for the second. She said that if they only played one game a day she wouldn’t get the opportunity to play both positions.
“We practice hard, and when we go down there we want to play.” Dupuis said. “You’d rather be playing games than practicing.”
Gray said playing multiple games in a day definitely does test the team’s endurance.
“All sports are unique in their preparation and strategy, and softball lends itself to double headers,” Beach said.
Teams should always do what works best for them and playing a schedule of entirely double headers seems to be working for KSC.
The Owls have an 18-6 record so far this season and are 3-1 in the LEC. The Owls opened their conference schedule by splitting their double header against Western Connecticut State.
KSC then swept the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth 9-0 in a six-inning game, and took the second game 5-1.
The team remains unbeaten at Owls Athletic Complex with a perfect 4-0 record while at home.
Ryan Glavey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org