The softball team played three doubleheaders over the course of the weekend and into the beginning of this week.
The Gorillas played Newman on Saturday, Mar. 20 and won both games (4-2, 23-16). On Sunday, Mar. 21, the team dropped a doubleheader against Washburn (1-10, 2-10). The softball team couldn’t manage to get back on track and dropped another doubleheader to Southeastern Oklahoma on Tuesday, Mar. 23 (7-10, 1-6).
“(Against) Newman, offensively, we did a lot of really, really good things… (and) made some really, really good defensive plays as well,” said Head Coach Ashley Balazs. “Washburn… it was a tough day for us. Really, really good team and they did what good teams do. Yesterday, we just beat ourselves up a little bit. Just need to get back on the right track.”
Kori Stonestreet, sophomore in business marketing, is taking the losses as a learning experience.
“At all of these games we came to play, no matter the outcome,” Stonestreet said. “At Newman, our bats came alive and we took advantage of good pitches given to us. Although we let them stay with us throughout the game with some errors and missed spots with pitching, we knew what we needed to work on for the next games. With Washburn, we knew going in that they were a great team. We made some great plays to back our pitchers up, but it just was not enough to win. We needed more out of our offense. If we don’t get on base, then we can’t produce runs to win. We can be a great hitting team when we get the job done. It doesn’t always have to be big home runs, we just need to get people on base to give us the opportunity to win, whether that be bunts to move people over or hard ground balls to get through the infield, or even walks.”
A few players stood out to Balazs.
“Pax and Kami had some big games for us, especially yesterday,” Balazs said. “They combined, I think, for all our runs in game one. So, they’re swinging the bat really, really well after yesterday.”
Some of the same players stood out to Stonestreet.
“Yesterday’s games versus Southeastern Oklahoma, Paxtyn Hays came to show out and had many great hits along with Kami Zimmerman as well,” Stonestreet said. “We have to have strong defense to back our pitcher up, but we also need to have a strong offense to be able to stay in games and compete.”
Next up is a doubleheader against Missouri Southern on Saturday, Mar. 27 in Joplin. The Gorillas will kick off game one at noon, followed by game two at 2 p.m.
“We just need to get back to competing in the box, competing on the field..,” Balazs said.
Stonestreet hopes to see the team bounce back against MSSU.
“Coach Balazs always tells us that we need to compete,” Stonestreet said. “We have to compete at the plate, wanting to beat the pitcher. We have to compete on the field and make the plays needed. We are at our best when we collectively show up as a team, when we are cheering each other on the whole game and just being passionate about the game we love. We have lots of games left this season and I can say that we are going to be a team worth cheering for.”