Bahamian national team player in softball Dawayna Pratt is looking forward to her collegiate season as a junior after the COVID-19 pandemic brought a stop to her sophomore campaign in March.
The St. Augustine’s University Falcons outfielder has put the season behind her. She said she has the same goals as a year ago, which is finishing with the highest batting average on the team.
“Entering my junior season my goals remain the same, which is to bring forth my leadership skills, dynamic decision-making, knowledge and speed. In addition, my focus still remains to be an asset for my team and finish with the highest batting average. To challenge myself even more, I would definitely aim to be the best defensive player as well,” Pratt said.
The Falcons play out of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II (DII) in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) conference. The school is located in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The outfielder said that she was saddened about the season being shortened as she felt she was just about to get into rhythm both offensively and defensively.
Interestingly enough, softball was not her first love but rather track and field. Before heading to St. Augustine’s, she suited up for the Colby Community College track and field team. She has college bests of 8.08 seconds in the 60 meters (m) dash; 13.14 seconds in the 100m; 25.41 seconds in the 200m; and 1:01.33 in the 400m.
According to Pratt, it was a tumultuous journey to St. Augustine’s filled with twists and turns, but due to her faith, positivity and self-belief, she was able to remain focused and her dream came to fruition.
In addition to track and field and softball, the former Queen’s College student also plays soccer and volleyball.
The 21-year-old said she has been playing softball as long as she can remember. She grew up around the softball park watching her parents, Dwayne Pratt and Charlotte Hield, play. It was there she fell in love with the game and the rest is history.
If it was not for the pandemic, she said she would be at the Bankers Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex playing in the New Providence Softball Association (NPSA) women’s fast pitch league. She first began playing in the league back in 2015 for the Johnson’s Lady Truckers. Last season she played for the Brackettes.
“Playing in the NPSA has definitely played a role in molding me into the knowledgeable and dominant player that I am today. The NPSA also helped with the organization of games which is needed for development, enhancement, and a team-oriented environment,” Pratt stated.
Since she has been home, Pratt said she has been making the most out of the challenging times.
“Getting into grips with the new normal, it’s been a challenge trying to get in the more effective workouts that I would like. Nonetheless, I’m fortunate to be able to put in my early morning runs, strength and condition during the midday and core at night,” Pratt said.
Back in May, the Falcons were recognized, presented with the CIAA Highest Grade Point Average (GPA) Softball Award with a cumulative GPA of 3.3.
“I must admit that my teammates are remarkable young ladies,” Pratt said. “We all live up to the four D’s in life – dedication, determination, discipline and desire. Despite the early morning, midday and evening practices, we never fell short of remembering that we were students first and athletes second.”
The school is no stranger to Bahamians as there are other players from The Bahamas on the roster – Chandra Mackey, Shaquelle Bain, Celine Jones and Mimi Morris.
Pratt’s advice to younger softball players who want to make the jump to collegiate softball is to be disciplined, be a complete player and be a student of the game.
Last August, she was a member of The Bahamas’ senior women’s national softball team that played in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Softball Americas Qualifier in Surrey, Canada.