The Pitt State softball team swept a doubleheader from the Emporia State University (ESU) Hornets on Tuesday, March 16 (5-0, 6-3).
“It was our best day yet,” said Head Coach Ashley Balazs. “It was a complete 14 innings. We pitched really well, we hit well, we played defense. Only a couple mistakes within the 14 innings. So, I’m really, really happy that our girls were able to perform the way they did…”
Paxtyn Hayes, freshman in business marketing, thought the team well all-around.
“I think we did really well and the way we played showed how talented we really are,” Hayes said. “I think we played at team and showed the damage we can do through our offense, defense, and pitching staff.”
Kaylee Burns, senior in accounting, was excited for the matchup against ESU.
“We really came together… (in) our last games against Emporia,” Burns said. “On paper, we were definitely the underdog going into the doubleheader on Tuesday. I was very confident going into the games. I knew that our team was hungry for a conference sweep against Emporia after a slow start to the season.”
In game one, Kylee Bohle started off the game with a home run. Paxtyn Hayes helped the Gorillas lead extend to 3-0 with a two-run shot. Bella Konieczka added two runs in the bottom of the sixth with a home run. Burns registered five strikeouts and allowed a single hit in the second inning to earn the one-hit shutout.
“As a whole, every single person contributed to the… wins,” Burns said. “Lauren Florez… came off the bench in a pinch-hitting position for her first at bat as a Gorilla, and she… (belted) one over left center to extend our lead against the Hornets. Paxtyn Hayes… and Kami Zimmerman… continue to be a threat in the box and out on the field. Audrey Miller… caught a great game, and she was a threat in the box as well. The enthusiasm and positivity that I felt on the field while I was pitching is something that can never be compared.”
In game two, Burns limited ESU to one hit over five innings of work. Audrey Miller and Kami Zimmerman made homeruns in the bottom of the fifth to put the Gorillas ahead. Hayes added an RBI double.
Balazs thought several of the team members stood out during the games.
“Kaylee, obviously,” Balazs said. “She threw 12 shutout innings, two hits, two walks, and was just lightning out there on the mound. Anytime in softball you can have a kid put up a performance like that, you have a good chance to win. So, great job by her. Offensively, we had Aud and Pax did a great job. I believe they went, combined, 9-for-12… Definitely did a great job anchoring our offense.”
Burns also stood out to Hayes.
“I think everyone has a whole did really well, but Kaylee came out and did her thing,” Hayes said. “She shut them down off the bat on the mound and I also want to point out Lauren coming in with a big hit for us showing the amount of power she has. I am proud of the entire team as a whole and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”
Next up for the Gorillas is a doubleheader against Newman on Saturday, March 20 followed by another doubleheader at home against Washburn on Sunday, March 21.
“I think for us, we got to keep it rolling,” Balazs said. “We got to keep playing the way that we did on Tuesday. Just keep competing. I thought we did a better job of handling pitches at the plate… So, we need to continue to do that (and) continue to put up good numbers.”