SAN DIEGO — In its inaugural season, the club softball team at San Diego State University exceeded expectations. Not only did the women win their conference, but they advanced to the World Series of club softball.
With nearly 34,000 students enrolled at SDSU, sophomores Taira Stewart and Amber Cohn noticed the Division I school didn’t have a club softball team, so they decided to create one.
“We had tryouts, we weren’t sure how many people were going to show up because we posted it through Facebook, so we were like, ‘Are people even going to show up? How’s this going to work?” said Cohn.
Twenty-two girls showed up and 18 made the team. In their first year in the National Club Softball Association, the team went 15-3 in the Pacific South Conference against opponents like USC, UCLA and Cal State Fullerton.
“We were super surprised. We didn’t even think we would win more than like three games. And then we started playing competition and we were like, ‘Wow, we’re actually doing okay,” said Stewart.
The Aztecs won their conference, and with it a trip to Columbus, Georgia for the World Series of club softball.
“We were just having fun and now we’re playing well,” said Stewart. “We want to win obviously, but I think that’s part of what keeps us loose, is that it’s our first season and we just want to do as well as we can.”
The young women pride themselves on the fact they have no official coach and they’re completely student-run, including funding.
“We do this because we want to, not because we have to or have any pressure on us,” said Cohn. “If we played on the actual team, we’d have to show up, but we’re here because we want to be.”
The club team says they’re like a small, tight-knit family, but they want other girls to know playing competitive softball doesn’t have to end in high school.
“Well if you’ve played and want to join another family — we’re here, just come out and play,” said Stewart. “You’re not a bad player if you’re not on the actual team; you can do whatever you want to do.”
Even if that means doing something for the very first time.
The team lost Saturday to Illinois, 4-1. They remain in the losers bracket and will take on Rutgers next.