The Gorilla softball season started strong, going 2-0 in a doubleheader against Southwest Baptist University on Thursday, Feb. 9, winning game 1 11-2, and game 2 10-3. After those two big wins, the Gorillas traveled to Bentonville, Ark. for the Alvy Early Memorial Classic Tournament, and went 3-1 in the tournament. They started the weekend off on Friday, Feb. 11, against William Jewell College. After extra innings, the Gorillas were able to pull off the win 4-3. On Saturday, Feb 12, the Gorillas continued the win streak taking down Quincy University 19-3. On Sunday, Feb. 13, they split games, winning in the morning against Wayne State University 17-5, and then losing a close one in the afternoon to Harding University 8-9.
“Starting off the season going 2-0 with two big wins was a great feeling. We did exactly what we wanted to and jumped on them offensively early, and just kept up the energy defensively to allow only a few runs,” said Sophomore Utility Player Paxtyn Hayes.
Against the Bearcats, they started off hot, scoring 7 in only the first two innings. They proceeded to score 4 more in just the fourth inning, and after leading 11-2 in the fifth, they ended the game. In the second game, they continued that great start scoring 7 runs in just the first inning. They stayed steady in the rest of the game scoring 2 more runs in the third, and then one more in the sixth, letting the game extend to the full 7 innings.
“Despite these big wins, there were some things we could have done better and cleaned up, but there are always going to be small things such as that,” Hayes said.
After 2 great games to start off the weekend, they traveled to Arkansas and took on the Cardinals. They started off great, holding a 3-0 lead going into the fourth. William Jewell wouldn’t back down and rallied 3 runs in just the bottom of the fourth. After multiple scoreless innings, the Gorillas scored one run in the top of the 9th, and after the Cardinals could not get someone home, the game ended after the top of the tenth inning.
They continued this winning streak going into Saturday, scoring 13 runs in the first inning against the Hawks. They scored three more in both the second and fourth innings, before allowing 3 runs to the Hawks in the fifth. After such a strong lead, the game ended after the top of the fifth.
They again kept this fire going into Sunday morning against the Wildcats. Even though they started off slower only being up 4-3 after the second, they scored 4 in the third, then 3 in the fourth, and then finally 6 in the fifth. They only allowed two more runs out of the Wildcats and ended the game after the fifth inning. Unfortunately, they were not able to carry this energy into their later game against the Bison. They started off great, taking a 5-0 lead in just the first inning. They would finish out slow, with the game being tied 8-8 heading into the 7th inning. The Gorillas were not able to score in the top of the seventh, but the Bison got one run in the bottom to end the game, handing the Gorillas their first loss.
“We didn’t end the weekend like the way we wanted to, but it was still a very successful weekend scoring a total of 48 runs,” Hayes said.
The Gorillas are looking forward to the next games coming up against Winona State University and Drury University on Saturday, Feb. 19 and Sunday, Feb. 20 at PSU. “We are very excited for our next games, they are both tough teams but so are we. We hope people show up to support and ‘Go-rillas,” Hayes said.