19-2 softball season comes to an abrupt finish

The Chico State softball team was preparing for its next series against Sonoma State when they received unfortunate news.

Following a redhot 19-2 start, the Wildcats stood at first place in the CCAA standings. Soon after, however, the team found out their season would be cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Personally, it just hit me so hard,”  senior infielder Kristin Worley said. “I knew once we were told the season was done, all I could think about was, ‘Wow, this is how my Wildcat career ended. This is not how we intended it to happen.’ There was just this unsatisfying feeling for myself that I knew this wasn’t how it was supposed to be.”

The final game the Wildcats played was on March 8 against the San Francisco State University Gators where the Wildcats cruised to a 5-3 victory. Throughout the season, they were led by two dominant pitchers, Sam Mulock and Brooke Larsen.

“I think every year I got a little bit better,” Mulock said. “This year, knowing it was my senior year, I really just gave it my all and I wanted to have an incredible season. I worked really hard over the summer and over these last couple of years.”

Mulock recorded a 10-0 record throughout her senior season with a 0.79 ERA, the lowest in the CCAA. Catcher Sara Mitrano saw a lot of pitches from Mulock over the course of both their Wildcat careers, and Mitrano became very familiar with Mulock’s pitching style.

“Sam [Mulock] is very calm, cool and collected. Her balls are put more into play by the hitters, but the movement on her balls is insane,” Mitrano said.

Larsen, who is currently in her junior year, posted a 9-2 record with a 0.99 ERA. She led the CCAA with five shutouts as well as tossing back-to-back no hitters against the California State University East Bay Pioneers on Feb. 28-29.

“Brooke [Larsen] did great this season,” Mitrano said. “It’s so easy to catch her. We are on the same page, that I don’t have to do much when I catch Brooke, which is great for me and my defense.”

While the daily Wildcat softball routine has come to a grinding halt, members of the team have adapted their workout routines in order to stay in shape. Larsen is back in her hometown of Sacramento finding new alternatives to stay healthy.

“It’s been tough, but I have one set of dumbbells that I’ve been trying to use … and a lot of cardio. I’ve been trying to get into running … I don’t like running,” Larsen said.

With each player having gone their separate ways to home now, the team is finding ways to stay in contact with each other. Applications such as Zoom and Snapchat have kept the group close during these tough, stressful times.

“We talk over our team Snapchat every single second of the day,” Larsen said. “Our coach is still holding team meetings over Zoom. It’s just nice to be able to see everyone’s faces still, even though it’s over a screen.”

Alex Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @amjournalism130 on Twitter.