It is easy to tell that Molly Grumbo is a force to be reckoned with: she’s confident, passionate about the game and determined to lead her team to the top.
Grumbo, a junior management major who plays catcher and outfielder, lives and breathes softball — and it has paid off. Leading the team in almost every offensive category last season, including batting average, hits, OPS and slugging percentage, Grumbo has been a major reason for the team’s success and has enjoyed every minute of it.
“The main reason I love softball is because I’m able to be myself,” said Grumbo. “I’m able to have fun, laugh, meet a bunch of different people … it’s given me so many things and opened so many doors for me, I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.”
Grumbo started playing softball at just 8 years old and committed to LMU a week before her junior year of high school started, and immediately knew from her first visit that this was where she wanted to play.
“The people were so welcoming and felt like family,” Grumbo noted. “I really wanted to grow the LMU program, and [get it] on the map and be a top-25 program … I knew that I was a part of something bigger if I came here.”
Coming off of two very successful seasons, including a historic 2018 postseason run that culminated in the Lions winning the National Invitational Softball Championship, Grumbo has complete confidence in this year’s young team to continue the success.
“We’re so excited [about the season],” said Grumbo. “It’s a little bit nerve-wracking for the newbies the first couple games — you have cameras there, lights, everybody’s watching — but to take those feelings and just have fun with it, and know it’s the game we’ve all been playing since we were 8 years old, there’s no better feeling.”
The team will be missing some of its star players from last year, including Delanie Wisz, the home run-hitting junior infielder who transferred to the reigning NCAA D1 tournament champion UCLA this semester. As a catcher, Grumbo will particularly miss 2019 graduate Hannah Bandimere, the team’s star pitcher and the 2018 WCC Co-Pitcher of the Year.
“Without Hannah I’m looking for [junior RHP] Linnay Wilson to step up a lot,” said Grumbo. “She’s kind of been behind the shadow of Hannah and she’s embraced it. She’s gotten a lot of saves and she’s been able to be a relief pitcher, but I know she wants more and I definitely push her to have more.”
Grumbo fiercely believes in her teammates and coaching staff, and knows that the Lions are more than capable of winning the WCC this year.
“It’s going to take everybody believing in the same message, knowing that no one expects us to win,” said Grumbo. “It doesn’t matter what logo is on the other team ... we are LMU softball and we are winning the best way we know how.”
As today is National Women in Sports Day, we celebrate both today’s female athletes and the ones who paved the way for them to have the opportunity to play. Grumbo has been inspired by many other softball players, but particularly by U.S. women’s soccer legends Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach, some of the first professional female athletes to become widely known and play under a national spotlight.
“[Being a successful female athlete] is everything … to be able to represent my team in a positive way, to be a leader on my team and the campus and to be able to know that we can do it just as [well] as the guys, it’s an awesome feeling,” said Grumbo.
LMU plays their first home tournament in three weeks, starting on Friday, Feb. 21.