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STORRS, Conn. – Spring break was a memorable one for the UConn softball program, as a 10-day adventure to California and Hawaii helped tighten team bonds and provided beautiful weather for 11 games in an eight-day period.
Despite being far from campus, the Huskies found much support on the road, as the strong West Coast presence on the UConn roster brought families and friends to the games – including some alumni from years’ past.
“We had a lot of great support while we were in Hawaii, as well as in California. We obviously have a lot of kids from California, but many parents made the trip,” said head coach Jen McIntyre. “A couple of alums stopped by too and it was fun seeing them.”
While in Honolulu, coaches and players had the chance to enjoy a team luau on the beach, a hike at Diamond Head State Monument, and a special visit to Pearl Harbor – just three months after the 75th anniversary.
“It was incredible for the players to experience such a huge part of our history. We have a couple history buffs on the team and they really enjoyed Pearl Harbor,” said McIntyre. “The luau was a lot of fun, too. When you spend 10 days together, it really tightens the bonds with everyone.”
During the course of the trip, the Huskies also picked up a pair of season-defining wins against Grand Canyon in the Stanford Invitational and Hawaii in the Rainbow Wahine Classic. Freshman pitcher Katie Koshes shined in both games.
Koshes earned two wins – allowing just one run on eight hits in 14 innings of work. Her dominant 16-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 0.50 ERA led the Huskies to their biggest victories of the trip.
“I knew they had fight in them, I knew they were scrappy, but to really see that flourish over the break was exciting. Our pitching staff did a great job of keeping us in a lot of ballgames, so we had a chance to fight late in the game,” said McIntyre.
She added, “We’re just one or two keys hits short, and when that comes around, we’re going to be in good shape.”
Since returning to Connecticut, the Huskies have had two games postponed – Wednesday’s home-opener against UMass-Lowell and Thursday’s road contest at Providence. Spring weather has not yet taken over in the northeast.
“Such is life in New England in the spring,” said McIntyre of the postponements. “We always say you have to be a little bit tougher to play in these parts in the spring. As long as the sun is out and we have an opportunity to play, we’re going to dig in and get after it.”
The Huskies have a doubleheader scheduled against Bryant on Tuesday, March 28 in Smithfield, R.I. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. Later in the week, UConn opens American Athletic Conference play at home vs. USF from March 31-April 2.