Softball gives take on COVID-19 vaccine while hoping to return soon


Ryan McCasland/Chico State Sports Information

#15 Sara Mitrano throws up signs while catching in a softball game at Chico State (Ryan McCasland/Chico State Sports Information)

It’s been almost a year since the softball team at Chico State played a game. Their most recent game was against San Francisco State on March 8, 2020 in which the Wildcats secured a win 5-3.

Prior to the pandemic, the softball team was riding a 19-2 record and despite such a long layoff, the team has missed playing and is itching to get back out on the field.

“I think the practices and the sunny days of playing are the things that I miss the most,” said sophomore infielder Drew Rodriguez. “Also [I’m], really looking forward to competition because even when it’s not going your way, it’s fun to bond with your teammates and go through those tough times together and pick each other up.”

#5 Drew Rodriguez rounds the bases during a softball game at Chico State (Ryan McCasland/Chico State Sports Information)

Two athletes that won’t be returning after the conclusion of this semester are Sam Mulock and Kristin Worley. While Mulock and Worley are irreplaceable, the team is excited about playing with the six new recruits coming to the team.

“I’m super excited,” Rodriguez said. “We do have team meetings on Zoom, but I’m just really excited to see how we all kind of mesh together. We always have such a great team chemistry.”

As of now, millions of Americans in the country are getting the COVID-19 vaccine. At the moment, Chico State is not requiring students or even student athletes to get it for the upcoming semester that will start in August. Senior catcher Sara Mitrano weighed in on her thoughts about the vaccine.

“If it can get rid of COVID for good and we can start practicing and playing, then obviously I would be 100% into it,” Mitrano said. “There are definitely factors that play into my decision on that.”

The softball team misses their fans watching them play. Mitrano hopes when the team does start playing again, fans can return to watch them even if they have to wear masks and socially distance themselves from one another.

“I definitely think that should be allowed just because we are outside,” Mitrano said. “Having fans definitely impacts us. It hypes us up and it does make a difference, whether people believe that or not. I think even just having our families there as support would be amazing.”

In the meantime, the team keeps up with head coach Angel Shamblin pretty regularly. Shamblin checks in with the players to make sure their physical and mental health is strong during such a tough time. Senior infielder Reilani Peleti talked about how grateful she is to have coach Shamblin checking in on her.

#12 Reilani Peleti takes a swing in a softball game at Chico State (Ryan McCasland/Chico State Sports Information)

“We talk to her at least once every other week,” Peleti said. “It’s been hard not playing the sport you love. She does a really good job at making sure we’re all doing good mentally as well as academically and staying in shape as best we can. She understands it’s a hard time right now.”

Peleti went on to talk about how she stays active during the off season.

“Individually we practice,” Peleti said. “Some of my roommates are on the team so we’ll try to throw and hit together on our own. Also, we have our own gym memberships.”

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