Friday 23rd February 2018,
The Transcript

Softball opens NCAC season with back-to-back wins over Wittenberg

By Heather Kuch and Jacob Beach
Sports Editor and Transcript Reporter

Last week the Ohio Wesleyan softball team was finally able to get back out on the diamond after having four games postponed due to inclement weather.

The team began their season over spring break in Florida, where they posted a 7-3 record against non-conference competition. However, after they returned, Ohio weather kept them from getting onto the field.

On Wednesday, March 27, the team was able to compete in a double-header against Muskingum University. The Bishops were defeated in both games by the Muskies 4-5 and 0-12.

Junior Danielle Haley said the team still had a few things to work on heading into the Muskingum game.

“Being as it is one of the early matches in the season, there are always kinks to get worked out in team dynamics, including freshmen learning the system and getting everyone working as a gelled unit,” she said.

Senior Morgan Hall, who recorded two hits in the games against Muskingum, said the Bishops worked hard during their preseason play in Florida to prepare for their regular season competition.

“From Florida to now, I’d say that our intensity and adjustments during the games have definitely improved,” she said. “You can learn how new teammates play and how people play when they are out of position or trying a new position in practice, but it shines through in games.”

The Bishops were able to recover from their losses and defeat North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) rival Wittenberg, 5-0 and 5-3, in a double-header contest on Saturday. These wins made the Bishops 2-0 in the conference. Senior Erika Reese, who struck out six Tiger batters in the second game against Wittenberg, said the work the Bishops put in over spring break is what helped them to be successful.

“Our preseason training really helped us with our endurance,” she said. “Playing back-to-back games every time can be exhausting, but we’re always able to maintain our level of play thanks to our training.”

Hall agreed with Reese and said while the team was in Florida, they created a specific attitude to play by that they plan to stick with for the rest of the season.

“In Florida, we talked a lot about playing ‘OWU Softball,’ what it means to us and how upbeat and intense we continue to play,” Hall said. “That is exactly what showed Saturday against Wittenberg.”

Haley, who pitched a five-hit shutout in the first game against the Tigers, said the main reason for their victory over the Tigers was their ability to score in the early innings of the match.

“It makes a statement and sets a tone for the entire game,” she said. “We just came prepared to win.”

Freshman Lilly Gresh said the team’s training in the fall and their unity as a team is what led to their success.

“I think our preseason training helped us to be successful in both games against Wittenberg because we focused intensely on our fundamentals so that when it came to actually playing in games, we had the utmost confidence in each other,” she said. “We plan on learning from those games of what we executed and could work on. Since we are a very close team, we help each other out a lot and are always learning from everyone to become better as a whole. We plan on continuing our success throughout the whole season.”

Reese agreed with Gresh and said the team has big plans for their conference season.
“We hope to continue playing to the best of our abilities at all games especially in the NCAC,” she said. “Our conference is tough and any team can best another team so we stay focused on the next game and break down each game into the next out and next pitch, taking care of the small things so the big ones take care of themselves.”
Hall said the beginning of their season shows where they are headed, and she expects a lot from this year’s team.

“For us, this season has started out differently,” she said. “I have watched a lot of these girls put in so much extra work to better themselves and it’s awesome to see. We have such high hopes as a team and I am excited to see where this season takes us.”

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