Chemistry off the field translates to on-field success for Vikings softball

DVC softball gathers together before a game against Sacramento City in Pleasant Hill on March 31, 2018. | Photo by Aaron Tolentino
DVC softball gathers together before a game against Sacramento City in Pleasant Hill on March 31, 2018. | Photo by Aaron Tolentino

The Inquirer: Student Voice of Diablo Valley College Website

Aaron Tolentino | Sports editor | April 8, 2018

If you look at the history of team sports, having talent and good players is simply not enough to be successful. It is important for the players to have chemistry and actually want to play with each other.

The Diablo Valley College softball team exemplifies all those things and then some.

The chemistry the team has built started last fall when they went on an all-day retreat in Sacramento.

The team went to Peak Adventures, a ropes course facility, where the ladies participated in rock climbing and other risky activities that required a level of trust among team members.

Trust is the key aspect in all of this.

That same trust the team had in the ropes course months before the season even started translates to trust on the softball field.

“It just helps a lot because it puts trust in each other,” said sophmore catcher Elvia Alvarado. “Say we’re down a run, I can trust that person to get somebody in and get on base.”

At DVC softball games, one of the big things anyone will notice is how loud that Viking dugout gets during its games.

All game, every at-bat, the ladies are constantly cheering each other on.

“It motivates us more,” said outfielder Alexis Esparza. “It gives us more energy because we’re really into the game… we play really well.”

The team cheers and encourages each other on in good times and in bad times as well.

Alvarado said that a lot of the girls dwell on an error they just made, but the rest of the team is always there to help erase that mistake. She added that they consistently tell each other to “go on the next play, just think positively of each other and just pick each other up.”

The entire coaching staff also sees how much the girls play for each other and genuinely like being around another. Head coach Dennis Luquet recognizes that the off-field bonding ultimately benefits the Vikings on the softball field.

“You know when you like each other, you’re gonna pick each other up,” Luquet said. “‘Somebody’s doing something bad, they say, “hey don’t worry about it.” It’s huge.”‘

It was a great idea by the coaching staff to set up team building activities prior to the season. Last season, no team bonding activities were planned, and now that foundation of team chemistry was built this year, the ladies look to propel each other to the next level.

As of April 9, the Vikings have a 19-12 record and an eighth place ranking in Northern California for rating percentage index, which ranks teams based on their wins against quality opponents. They look to build upon their success and reach the State Super Regionals like they did last year.

“Hard work beats talent any day,” said Alvarado. “That communication that we have on the team, the bond that we have helps a lot.”

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