The softball team played a doubleheader against Fort Hays State University (FHSU) on Friday, April 2. The Gorillas lost to the Tigers in both games (1-7, 1-5). The softball Gorillas bounced back from the losses by defeating Nebraska-Kearney in a doubleheader on Saturday, Apr. 3 (7-1, 6-5).
“We finished really well,” said Head Coach Ashley Balazs. “Our offensive came alive… Our pitchers gave us a lot of easy outs throughout the whole weekend. And really if you just look at the scores against Fort Hays, it wasn’t what we wanted, and it doesn’t look great, but we felt like we were just one hit away or one less error… We just (got to) keep staying confident at the plate, keep getting easy outs on the mound rolling into the weekend.”
Kaity Kukowski, graduate student in special education, admits that the team didn’t play well against FHSU but adds that they came together against Nebraska-Kearney.
“We struggled on Friday as a team,” Kukowski said. “We battled some pretty nasty wind conditions that Fort Hays managed better than us, things just didn’t come together. On Saturday we totally changed it around. We were feeding off of each other at the plate and made some great plays defensively. We got the right hits at the right time and managed an extra inning win in the first game. The second game we did a great job getting runners in scoring position and getting the job done. It was a lot of fun.”
In game one against FHSU, the Gorillas were scoreless until the sixth inning. Errors by FHSU allowed the Gorillas to score their first run. Kaylee Burns was credited with the loss for Pitt State. In game two against FHSU, Bella Konieczka scored the Gorillas only run of the game. Taylor Compton was credited with the loss.
In game one against Nebraska-Kearney, the Gorillas led 1-0 until the bottom of the seventh when the Lopers tied the game and extended it. In the ninth, the Gorillas scored six runs, the first of which came from a double by Keelah Griffith which scored Kukowski from third. Kami Zimmerman added another run. Kaylee Burns was credited with the win. Burns went all nine innings, allowing just four hits and one earned run. In game two against Nebraska-Kearney, Kukowski broke the tied game with a solo shot to left in the second. Kearney took the lead back in the third. The two teams went back and forth for the next three innings. An error allowed Zimmerman to score from third and win the game for PSU. Burns was credited with the win.
“Kaylee pitched well for us like usual,” Kukowski said. “She is definitely a person you want on the mound. She grits her teeth and gets the job done. Paxtyn was a monster at the plate, she has big things ahead of her.”
A few players stood out to Balazs too.
“Kaylee did a great job on… (Saturday) kind of anchoring the staff… another complete game, one run for her,” Balazs said. “And then Pax did great job for us at the plate. She is really, really swinging it well so we’re really happy about the progress that she’s made. Keelah is coming along, quite a few doubles for her this weekend, really the last few weeks…”
The softball team is at home for the weekend. They have a doubleheader against Rogers State on Friday, April 9 with game one at 2 p.m. and game two at 4 p.m. After that, they have another doubleheader against Northeastern State on Saturday, April 10 with game one at noon and game two at 2 p.m.
“We (got to) keep fighting like we did on Saturday against Kearney and I think if we have that mentality going into Rogers and Northeastern, I think we’re (going to) have a good showing,” Balazs said.