The softball team has officially closed the 2019 season. The Gorillas battled Northeastern State in a doubleheader Friday, April 26. They won the first match (2-1) and carried that victory through to take the second match as well (5-4). The next game was against Central Oklahoma on Saturday, April 27. It was another doubleheader and they were the final matches of the regular softball season. The Gorillas dropped the first game (1-4) but managed to battle back and secure a victory in the last match of the season (5-3).
Despite the regular season ending, the softball team was not done yet. The team played two postseason games in the MIAA tournament. The first game was Wednesday, May 1 against Missouri Western and the team lost (2-4). The second game was on Thursday, May 2 against Emporia State University and the Gorillas lost that game as well (2-3).
Head coach Ashley Balazs believes the team had a chance to win but ultimately could not make it happen.
“(They were) both really competitive games against two quality opponents,” Balazs said. “Pitchers gave us opportunities to win and we had enough RISP but struggled to get the timely hit.”
Despite losing both games, the team did play well in a couple of areas.
“We worked well out of RISP on the mound and field.”
A couple of players stood out to Balazs during the matches.
“Hal threw well with limited hits both games,” Balazs said. “Kaity swung it well today.”
In the first MIAA tournament game against Missouri Western, junior Kaity Kukowski had two hits and senior Ali Gutc and junior Kala Holder each had one. Holder added two RBIs. Junior Madison Wegner, junior Dru Collins, and junior Makenzie Goswick all had three putouts apiece and junior Halle Brin added one. Halle had three assists and Wegner added one.
In the second MIAA tournament game against Emporia State, Gutc and Kukowski each had two hits and Goswick and junior Brittanee Knepper each had one apiece. Kukowski had a total of two RBIs. Goswick had a total of 11 putouts, Holder had three, and Kukowski added two. Holder had a total of five assists and Knepper and Kukowski each added a total of three assists apiece.
According to Balazs, the team has had many highlights over the course of this season.
“The last weekend of conference tournament was probably the best we’ve fought together on the field,” Balazs said. “We showed a lot of bright spots throughout the year.”
Balazs believes the team has improved a lot since previous seasons.
“On the field we made a lot of strides forward,” Balazs said. “Going into the final weekend of conference season we were on pace to score the most runs per game in 5 seasons. We put a significant dent in our scoring margin from last year. Our pitchers gave us a lot of outings to win games. Overall it was a success on the field.”