Archive for Thursday, April 14, 2005

Softball team looking to move past early season woes

Cards get break as schedule eases

April 14, 2005

It's been a rough start for the Eudora softball squad.

Quiet bats, blown leads and good opposing pitching have staked the Cardinals to a slow 1-5 start.

For some of the players and the head coach, it goes with the game.

"We're disappointed that we've started this way," senior second baseman Jacqueline Pyle said. "But we've faced some tough competition and sometimes it happens this way."

"It's not that we've been blown out in every loss this year," coach Cara Kimberlin said. "It's just the disappointment of not being able to finish off the games that we had won."

The Cardinals had the misfortune of starting the year against Ottawa star Megan Ramsey in a doubleheader at Eudora. The Cardinals answered with strong pitching from junior Caitlyn Riser but fell in both games by one run.

"When we faced her (Ramsey), I think that we were a little intimidated," senior catcher Alissa Hamilton said.

Despite the opposing pitching, there are two games that stick in the minds of the players.

A blown lead to Gardner and a collapse at home to Spring Hill. Both games were primed for the win column, but got away late.

"Those games hurt the most," Kimberlin said. "We had those games won and in the Spring Hill game especially, our defense let us down."

Defense was supposed to be a team asset, Pyle said.

"Our defense is our strongest point," she said. "It's something that we relied on and it was hard when that game got away."

There was also a sense of complacency.

"In the Spring Hill game, we just got too relaxed," Hamilton said. "We thought we had the game won, and they took advantage of that."

Despite the slow start, members of the team still see the strengths that can help propel them to a strong finish.

The pitching has been solid in every game. Riser has yet to win a ball game, but has kept her team in every game that she's taken the mound.

"I expected Caitlyn to be good this year," Pyle said. "She can be counted on to keep us in the game."

As catcher, Hamilton also sees the pitching as a plus.

"Last year we had one go-to pitcher, and that was Kelly (Spence)," Hamilton said. "This year we have at least three good pitchers."

Aside from Riser, junior Karen Spence has staked her claim as a go-to pitcher down the

stretch by pitching 13 innings and allowing only five hits. Sophomore Brynn Hamilton has also logged in some quality innings.

"When you have good pitching it helps keep the defense in the game," Pyle said. "I think that will be a strength for us down the stretch."

After the first two games of the season garnered only five hits, the bats of the Cardinals have come alive in the last four. Alissa Hamilton has gone nine-for-13 in her last four games after going in hitless in her first eight at-bats in the opening two ball games.

"I'm just concentrating on making contact now," Hamilton said. "I'm trying to relax and take the pitches as they come instead of swinging for the fences."

When some of the big bats are going, it can help the rest of the team.

"When those players are getting solid hits, it gets the rest of us going," Pyle said. "It makes us want to contribute to what's going on."

After a week off since the Spring Hill disaster, the Cardinals are looking forward to a doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at home against Wellsville.

"The week off did us a lot of good," Kimberlin said. "We've rested some players and focused on some of the things that we need to do to finish off these games. I know we'll bounce back."

Pyle agreed.

"Now that we've got some of the tougher competition out of the way, I think we can get things going. I know we're a good team and we're ready to get back out there and get things going again."

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