Senior Savannah Rafkin has been through her share of highs and lows with the Niwot softball program, and, this year, she is trying to use that experience to her team’s advantage.
“I’ve tried to be a role model and more of a positive voice on the field,” the veteran outfielder said. “I’m the only player left on Niwot softball who knows what it’s like to be competitive and go to regionals, so I’m hoping to show the younger girls.”
For Rafkin, that has meant more emphasis on camaraderie and fun and less focus on “mistakes and failures.” So far, that approach seems to be working.
As of Sept. 10, the Cougars are 9-4 overall and on pace for their best record since Rafkin’s freshman year, when they went 12-9 and qualified for the regional tournament.
The Cougars are getting it done with their bats, mostly. Their 155 runs is the second highest total in the Northern League, and eight players are hitting above .400 for the season.
One of those is Rafkin, who has been among Niwot’s top offensive threats for the past two years. As a junior, she hit .500, with 31 hits and 25 RBIs, doubling her production from the year before. So far in 2018, she has 20 hits in 41 at-bats, including three triples.
“I just try to be as consistent as possible,” she said of her approach to hitting. “I try to keep my strikeouts low and do my best to make contact and get on base.”
Rafkin is also having an easier time defensively now that she’s back in the more familiar territory of the outfield. Last season, she was pressed into infield duty “for the first time since age 12,” and ended the year with 10 errors. She is error-free so far in 2018, and the team’s total error rate is also improving.
“Savvy has done a great job of doing her job on the field,” Niwot head softball coach Bobby Matthews said of the senior’s leadership this season. “She has been great about making sure every girl in the program feels like they are a part. That has been huge for me as a coach.”
When she’s not on the diamond, Rafkin enjoys her AP classes at Niwot, where she is also a member of Link Crew. She also works part-time.
Though she has been active in the sport since age five, Rafkin will be hanging up her softball cleats at the end of her senior season. After graduation, she will be heading to Colorado State, where she plans to major in political science, in preparation for a potential career in politics.
“Last year I took AP Government, and I loved it,” she said. “Also, recent events in our political climate have driven me to become more active in my community. I feel like I can make a difference, and that’s the best way for me to do it.”