The Loyola softball team started a long trip March 20. The Ramblers’ travels took them six hours south to St. Louis University before traveling another four hours to Missouri State University the next day. The team was searching for something to break up the 20 total hours of driving and four games.
Senior catcher and St. Louis native Katie Kasubke came to the rescue, opening her home to the team with which she has spent the past four years.
Kasubke grew up in O’Fallon, Missouri, a western suburb of St. Louis. She started her softball career there and eventually attended Saint Dominic High School, a local co-ed Catholic school.
Kasubke said she was excited to be playing in St. Louis, especially since it was the same field where she played growing up. Many members of her family came to support her in her final season as a Rambler. Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents looked on as she went 0-4 with a walk.
Earlier in the week, she asked head coach Jeff Tylka if the team would be interested in coming over to her house for a team dinner and he immediately jumped on it. She then went into planning mode with her family.
The Kasubkes chose an assortment of choice meats by famous St. Louis barbeque joint SugarFire. The family felt this would provide an impactful taste of local cuisine, but they also mentioned the ease in comparison to cooking for the crowd of 18 players and three coaches.
Sweet and savory smells of brisket and pulled pork filled the house as the sounds of laughter and team bonding rebounded off the blue-gray walls of the kitchen. The final course for the evening was a cake which read “Loyola Ramblers Softball,” decorated adorably with the familiar Loyola wolf and “L” logos.
The activities of the evening were meant to take away from the stresses of the next day’s trip down to Missouri State and focus back on the team aspect of the sport. The players shot pool, hung out and ended the evening watching the Loyola women’s basketball game together.
“It’s hard to tackle games and practice and leaving school early,” first-year infielder Nova Sinskul said. “It was good to just have fun. We hung around and bonded. Everything was just out of context of softball and we all got to know each other better. It gave us an opportunity to find out more about each other off the field.”
Sinskul might have more opportunities like this to bond with her teammates, but Kasubke said as a senior, it meant much more for her.
“Spending the most amount of time with these people during my senior year was cool to me, so having this opportunity to just be with your friends in that extra time off the field and you’re only going to be in this type of setting for so long,” Kasubke said. “It was nice to break the trip up before going to Missouri State; it was a breath of fresh air.”
The players spoke multiple times about the importance of recharging their personal batteries heading into their first three Missouri Valley Conference games. They said it’s important to create a family dynamic amongst each other, and that event furthered that feeling.
Loyola is scheduled to play its first home games of the season against Bradley University March 30 and April 1 at Loyola Softball Park.