Four freshmen join varsity softball


Carleigh Strader, Reporter

Making the cut for a varsity team of any sport is something to be proud about, especially if you make the cut as a freshman. Tunstall’s varsity softball team has four freshmen playing in the 2022 season. Each of these freshmen are making contributions to the success of the team, whether they are on the field or in the dugout supporting their teammates. 

Colby Eastwood spends a good amount of her playing time in the circle. Apart from Tunstall softball, she plays for LLG National, Diamond Fever, and plays volleyball for Tunstall and Active Volleyball Club. She also enjoys spending time at the lake, driving her jetski, and surfing.

Softball has always been a huge part of Eastwood’s life. Her love for the game started at a very young age. “I played t-ball and I don’t remember much except seeing this kid trip over his feet and thinking ‘softball is comedy, I have to play this’,” Eastwood said. 

She then described how she reacted when she found out that she made varsity. “I was nervous I wasn’t going to make varsity, but I was really excited that I did and I was really excited to have the opportunity,” Eastwood explained.

“Knowing that we have four years on varsity is crazy,” she added.

Eastwood also explained the advice that she gives herself when she’s pitching. “You have to kind of take everything off your shoulders for a minute, you can’t carry everything. It’s about trust,” she said.

She then described how her parents have supported her throughout her softball career. “My mom and my dad have been my biggest supporters. They’ve helped me through everything. My dad is more about skills and my mom is more about mindset,” Eastwood stated.

Eastwood explained that she would like to play softball in college at Virginia Tech.

Khamauri Mays is an amazing hitter for her varsity team. Along with Tunstall softball, she also plays softball for the Triad Titans. When she isn’t playing softball, she spends time reading, hanging out with her friends, and listening to music.

Similar to Eastwood, softball has been a huge factor in Mays’ life since she was young. “When I was a kid, my family forced me to play t-ball with my brother and my cousin, and I hated it,” Mays said.

“When I found out that Colby was playing for a travel team, I just wanted to be included, so I decided that I would go tryout. It actually turned out to be really fun, so I continued to play,” Mays added.

She described how she felt when she found out she made the cut for varsity. “It was extremely exciting. It felt like a lot of hard work had paid off,” Mays said.

She went on to explain what her advice for herself is when she steps onto the field. “I try to relax and just slow down. I get really anxious so I try to just take things one play at a time; one at-bat at a time,” Mays stated.

Mays’ biggest supporter throughout her years of playing softball has been her grandmother, Valerie. “She’s been there with me every step of the way, and she hates missing any of my games. She’s always there to support me, she’s my bestie,” Mays explained.

In the future, Mays would like to play college softball, but she isn’t quite sure where.

Halle Cassada is a great attribute to the Tunstall softball team. She has played for several different travel teams and she enjoys hanging out with her friends when she finds the time to. “We try to get together when we can,” Cassada said.

Her love for the game of softball sparked when she started playing t-ball. “My dad wanted me to play t-ball, and then I just really fell in love with it. It just really lets you disconnect and not worry about what’s happening until you get off the field,” Cassada stated.

When she realized she had made the varsity team, she was surprised as well as excited. “I didn’t think I was going to make varsity, so I was a little shocked, but I was very excited,” she explained.

Cassada then talked about the advice she has for herself when she is playing. “I try not to let one mistake pile into a hundred more. When somebody gets down on themself it affects the whole team, and sometimes it’s not the easiest to bring the team back up. It’s important that you try not to be disappointed in yourself and just try to keep going,” she said.

Her biggest supporters in the softball world are her parents. “I was on a team with a coach who wasn’t the best, and I really just thought about quitting altogether. I took a break for a little bit and found a team I really liked, and my parents and new coach helped me regain my love for the game,” Cassada explained.

Cassada explained that she would like to play college softball, but she’s not decided on a school yet.

Madison Austin is a great player for the Lady Trojans. She played travel softball for one year in the past, and she also plays volleyball for Tunstall and Active Volleyball Club. She likes to spend time with her friends and workout in order to stay in shape for softball and volleyball.

She explained that the friendships she’s made through the sport are what made her fall in love with the game. “I really didn’t fall in love with it until I found my friends through softball, like Colby, Halle, and Khamauri. I knew that I had friends that I could lean on during the game and that helped me enjoy the game a lot more,” she stated.

Austin described what she felt when she found out she had made the team. “It was very exciting because I didn’t think I was going to make it compared to some of the other girls. I put a lot of work into it so it was exciting to know that it paid off,” she said.

Austin then spoke about her advice to herself when she’s up to bat. “I just try not to think about it too much. I plan on hitting the ball but I don’t stress over it. If I miss a play I try not to let it affect my next play or how the rest of the team plays,” she explained.

Austin explained that her parents have been her biggest supporters for the years that she has played softball. “My dad got me into it at a young age, and he would work with me alot so I could gain the skills I needed to compete with the girls at this level,” she said.

In similarity to Cassada, Austin explained that she has thought about playing softball in college, but wasn’t sure on which school.

Austin, Cassada, Eastwood, and Mays have been on the field together for years. This year, they each made the varsity softball team as freshmen and hope to continue their softball careers together throughout their time at Tunstall.