Blues swinging for regionals after last year’s appearance

Eric Smith

While the Washburn Lady Blues softball team had its successes in the 2007-08 season, it finished on a rough note.

The Washburn softball team went 29-28 last season and finished losing seven of nine including its last four in the MIAA and NCAA Tournament.

The Lady Blues finished the season tied for fourth in conference with Pittsburg State and were the No. 5 seed in the MIAA tournament. After beating the No. 4 seed Gorillas in the first game of the tournament, the Lady Blues lost to No. 1 seed Emporia State and No. 2 seed Central Missouri.

“Last season I think was heartbreaking because we actually did pretty well at the tournament,” said Dani White, senior first basemen. “We didn’t win obviously but we went a lot further than we had in past years. We competed a lot harder than we had.”

The Lady Blues then advanced to the NCAA North Central Regional for only the second time in 10 years. However, the No. 8 Lady Blues’ postseason was short lived as they lost to top seed and host Emporia State in the first round and then Minnesota State the following day to end their season.

“It was just heartbreaking after that,” said White. “But just making it to the tournament and being top eight in the region was definitely rewarding.”

While the Lady Blues have had had a rough start going  4-11 to begin the season, White can see the team doing well again this year.

“We always talk about goals to make it to the MIAA tournament. Do well there and then the make it to the NCAA tournament,” said White. “But with the losses we’ve had this year, we’re just taking every game one at a time.”

The Lady Blues had four seniors on the 2008-09 season including pitcher Kelly Swygert, shortstop Brooke DeVader, second basemen Malarie Fellers, and outfielder Mandy Tabutton. Although all four made big contributions to the success of the team, current senior Maggie West is optimistic that the current team can follow that success.

“Last year we had a lot of talent and I think we do this year as well,” said West, outfielder. “Hopefully we’ll be able to put things together this year.”

The Lady Blues have only two seniors returning this season in White and West but have nine juniors including third basemen Tish Williams who has put a dent in many of the offensive statistics at Washburn.

West also said that head coach Lisa Carey, in her seventh season, is a great motivator for the team and has confidence in its potential.

“She always just tries to help us realize that we’re going to have to bring our best for the field. She’s always told us that we can compete against any team in the county as well. So trying to keep us positive and motivated to want to go out and beat a high ranked team. That’s always our goal.”