The softball team (5–32, 1–15 Ivy) has battled all season long against difficult non-conference opponents and tough league rivals. Yet even against top-notch competition, captain and center fielder Tori Balta ’14 has stood out among the Elis. Balta leads the team with a .364 batting average, a .415 on-base percentage and a 0.486 slugging percentage. As the squad heads into its final weekend of competition, the News caught up with Balta to discuss her strong season and to reflect on her career.
Q. This season, you led the team in a number of offensive categories. What has been the key to your success?
A. I approach every at-bat with a clear mind and try not to get too technical. I focus on mechanics during practice, so when it’s game time I know what I have to do.
Q. The team has played a lot of tough competition this year. What has the team learned and improved upon most since the beginning of the year?
A. This season, I think the team has learned how to work through adversity. Even when we played tough competition, the team never gave up or went in with a negative mentality. We learned how to fight hard and focused on giving maximum effort throughout the entire game.
Q. What have been the biggest challenges for the team throughout this season?
A. Making adjustments at the plate and defensively were some of the biggest challenges our team faced this year. I think that learning to play from behind is very tough and I think that our team always pushed to fight back.
Q. With a team that features many freshmen, what does the future of the team hold?
A. I think the future of Yale softball looks good. We were a fairly young team this year, but I think our team has gained some valuable experience. I think the players will take what they learned this year into the offseason and continue to work on weaknesses so next season the team comes out strong.
Q. What were your thoughts going into your final season? What is it like knowing that you are heading into your last series and final weekend?
A. I was excited and sad going into my final season. I was sad because I knew this was going to be my last time ever playing at this level, but I was excited to see what the team could accomplish. Going into the last series, I have a similar mix of emotions as in the beginning of the season. It still seems surreal to me that these are the last games of my career, but at the same time I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities that I have had playing for Yale.
Q. What have the highlights been for the team throughout the season?
A. I think our Florida trip was one of the highlights of our season. Playing tough competition like USF was both exciting and an incredible learning experience. Our team had a great time down there, and it was a great way to start our season.
Q. Reflecting on your time on the softball team, what have you enjoyed most?
A. My time on the softball team has been really great and I have enjoyed all the friendships I have built along the way. I will definitely miss my team next year and getting to play the sport that I love.