Gorillas break even in Florida tournament

Tyler Smith | reporter

The Pitt State softball team began its season in Saint Leo, Fla., for the second consecutive year by competing in the Saint Leo Invitational. The Gorillas had a pair of wins and a pair of losses at the two-day tournament.
Against Northwood University, the Gorillas won big, 11-3, while losing 6-5 against Saint Leo University in the second game.
The Gorillas outscored Tarleton State, 6-1, in the first game of the second day before losing 7-0 to the University of Tampa.
Elizabeth Economon, head coach, said her team looked good in its first outing and says she hopes the players will improve as they move on toward Oklahoma Christian University in early March.
“I think we did a lot of really good things,” Economon said. “The teams we played had played 13 to 15 games already, so we’re being competitive from the first pitch of our first game, which is really impressive.”
Economon says that her team needs to be able to close better to get those extra wins on its record.
“[The team needs to be] pitching with the lead, playing with the lead and being able to close the door when you’ve got a three to four run advantage,” Economon said. “That will come with time and experience.”
The first-year coach says she is proud of her team and what it accomplished, and says that it was important for them to start things off on a positive note.
“I think in three games we had 36 hits and 25 runs, which was pretty impressive for not having seen other pitching besides our own,” Economon said. “It’s nice to see that they can do it in a competitive setting.”
Having a week off before the next game will benefit the players as they rest up and get ready for Oklahoma Christian, Economon says.
“Now we know we have, weather permitting, five to six practices before we play again,” Economon said. “I think it will be good for their bodies to get better, to recover and get back into the swing of things in the classroom and travel not quite the same distance as Florida.”
One positive from the long trip to Saint Leo was the bonus of being in a warmer climate, along with a few stops along the way that helped bring the team together.
“I think they’d tell you they would do it all over again,” Economon said. “(We) stopped in Memphis, Atlanta and Nashville on the way back, so they got to see a little bit of the country maybe they wouldn’t otherwise get to see – so a lot of team bonding.”
Next up for the Gorillas is the Missouri Southern Tournament held in Joplin. The four-game tournament begins March 1 and runs through March 3.

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