Softball off to slow start

Eric Smith

The Washburn Lady Blues softball team didn’t exactly begin its season the way it had hoped, starting 2-5 this weekend in Phoenix, Ariz.

The team lost its first four games, including a doubleheader Wednesday to Dixie State College of Utah, 8-1 and 7-1. Thursday, the Lady Blues fell in the first two games of the NFCA Leadoff Classic, losing 2-1 to Chico State and 13-0 in five innings to Dixie State.

In those four games Washburn struggled on offense collecting only three runs and 18 hits. Senior pitcher Kelly Swygert and sophomore pitcher Kayla Long both lost two decisions, giving up five and nine earned runs respectively.

“We didn’t start off very good,” said sophomore third baseman Tish Williams. “I think the only reason we did that is because we haven’t seen the field for like two months now. And some of the other teams we have been playing have practiced for several weeks.”

Continuing with the tournament Friday, the Washburn softball team rebounded and got their first two wins of the season, beating the Texas Woman’s University 7-6 and Texas A&M International 10-2 in five innings.

In the first game the Lady Blues got out to a 5-1 lead after a grand slam by Tish Williams. TWU tied it up late 6-6 before sophomore outfielder Jessie Batres knocked in sophomore catcher Whitney Tapp to score the winning run in the bottom of the eighth. Sophomore pitcher Nicole Perkuhn gained the win.

The second win was another offensive explosion as the Lady Blues scored eight runs in the first inning against TAMI. Williams had three hits and three runs while Batres and senior shortstop Brooke DeVader drove in three apiece. Swygert got her first win.

“I feel like we’re comfortable on the field now. We got out on the dirt and put some time in,” said DeVader. “The feeling of winning feels good after four straight losses. Those were a real awakening.”

The NFCA tournament ended Saturday with the Lady Blues losing to No. 10 California State, Stanislaus 10-3. The only bright spots were home runs by Williams and DeVader. Swygert got the loss, giving up seven earned runs in five innings. She moved to 1-3.

Although a very talented offensive team, the Washburn women had eight errors in the seven games played.

“We are a great team but when we’re not together on defense, we tend to make a lot of errors,” said Williams. “We have to try not to make as many mistakes in the field because that’s how a large amount of games are won and lost.”

Many of the teams the Washburn softball squad played this weekend were some of the most talented in the Southwest region and had already played several more games than the Lady Blues.

“I think it’s great that we’re playing these teams early. It’s good competition,” said Williams. “It’s good to see this early in the season. It makes us work harder.”

The Lady Blues will be back in action 1 p.m. Thursday with a non-conference doubleheader at Pittsburg State.

“They’re a decent team. We just got to go out and play tough,” said DeVader. “Obviously other teams in the conference are going to be looking at that game, and we’re going to show them how good we are.”