For more than 3 decades, slowpitch softball has been a third season sport in ISM. Despite the widespread popularity of other alternatives, such as fast pitch softball or baseball, softball was made one of the first IASAS sports, alongside volleyball and football in the competition’s inaugural year. Even with the practical inconveniences of playing slow pitch softball, such as finding the right bats and balls, the IASAS board has remained loyal to the initial decision to include the sport in the IASAS line up.
One of the main reasons why the IASAS board has stuck so closely to this initial decision is for the safety of students. ISM’s Athletic Director Mark Pekin expands on this, saying, “Safety is a huge concern in baseball. Imagine the lawsuits and injuries from hitting balls over the fence!” Furthermore, veteran IASAS board member and ISB Assistant Athletics Director Harold Albert comments, “More time is required to prepare baseball and fastpitch pitchers, so the time constraint in the season is an obvious reason.” Even former fastpitch players like Via Lim recognize the time required to train is increased with “complicated plays, stealing, reduced fielders and more difficulty batting.” Lastly, the availability of competition with some IASAS schools is scarce, with less access to baseball umpires and officials.
However, in the Philippines, leagues like ILLAM and MLL have made fastpitch softball and baseball significantly more feasible in the Philippines. Former MLL player Monica Martinez admits that fastpitch softball, her preferred sport, allows more game time with a range of community teams. She says that this team sport “gives everyone a chance to play, with the expectation to get bruised and dirty!” Chiara Squillantini remembers that in ILLAM, fastpitch it is “challenging to hit”, but there is “more excitement as the game goes quicker.” PE Coach Doddy says the he “would love to see IASAS move to fast pitch for the girls and baseball for the boys, or baseball for both” because slowpitch tends to get “a little slow at times.” Doddy also adds, “ I also think that there are more opportunities to play fast pitch in the US at college, slowpitch is more of a social thing for the summer.”
Despite the arguments against following the slowpitch softball route, the ISM teams are well under way to preparing the highest quality of performance for any sport that they play. As Via Lim so accurately put it, in the end, Softball “offers something different and we get to spend more time with each other as a team, which is what it’s all about.”
Written by, Ysabel Ayala, 10
Photography by, Sammy Westfall, 9