The synergy between the baseball and softball teams this year has helped motivate them to play some of their best ball in the past 14 years.
Boasting a 41-12 record this year, the softball team completed its most productive season since jumping into Division I in 1995. The baseball squad is following suit and is on pace for its best, carrying a 37-19 record heading into their first Division I postseason appearance.
For these teams to be playing so well simultaneously is rare. The last time both teams have reached more than 35 wins in the same season came in 2000, when they each placed second in the Big West Conference.
“I think it’s really special,” junior infielder Kyle Smith said. “They usually do pretty well and we just don’t hold up our end of the bargain.”
The teams keep close tabs on each other, learning about their successes and failures, but more importantly, taking note of the bar that is set each day.
“For me, it’s a little of a competitive edge,” senior infielder Melissa Pura said. “I’m like, ‘Uh-oh, baseball is doing well? We have to do better than them.’”
It’s constructive competition. It’s competition in terms of reaching the bar that the other has set, not hoping that the other has lowered it.”
Although each Cal Poly team is tied together in some way or another, the softball and baseball teams have a unique relationship based on the similarity of their sports and timing of their schedules.
“Since we play such a similar sport, we relate on similar levels,” Pura explained. “And since we have similar training schedules, it’s easier to hang out with (baseball players).”
A large group of softball players recently attended a critical baseball game (a series-ending game against Cal State Fullerton — a division rival) and were greeted with a standing ovation from fans at the game. It is that appreciation that shows the interest of fans in both sports, junior infielder Krysten Cary said.
“It was definitely a cool moment for us,” she said. “To know that we are appreciated like that.”
Although the two teams do not share the same field, they play in close quarters and many times can hear shout-outs coming from the other stadium.
“With our schedule we don’t get a chance to see them play, because we are practicing at the same times,” Smith said. “We can hear them sometimes though, we can hear the music, cheering and things.”
It begins each year in the weight room. Both teams lift weights together in the fall, where they become acquainted with each other and start potential friendships.
“I’ve seen a lot of them come and go, got to know some of them pretty well,” senior outfielder Ryan Lee said. “We train with them side by side in the weight room, so I have a good relationship with a handful of them.”
While the softball team was eliminated in the Palo Alto Regional final against Stanford, the baseball team will begin its postseason run this weekend when they play Oral Roberts on Friday at 2 p.m. in the Arizona State-hosted Tempe Regional.