Lady Blues start season 3-1 in tournament play

Regina Cassell

The Washburn Lady Blues softball team finished 3-1 in the Angelo State tournament in San Angelo, Texas.

After breezing through the semifinals with 5-2 win, the Blues lost 8-4 to the nation’s second ranked team, San Angelo State. The Blues were led by Kayla Huske’s .400 batting average in the tournament and saw senior pitcher Erin Pierce gather a 2-0 record and 2.80 earned run average in the tournament. The Lady Blues also went 3-1 at this tournament last year, however, this time around they beat San Angelo State in pool play.

“I thought our offense performed really well. We need to work on getting and maintaining the lead, but overall we were happy with our performance,” said Pierce.

The Lady Blues next travel to St. Cloud, Minn. for the St. Cloud State Dome Classic Feb. 18-19. The Blues will play in the Henderson State Invite the following weekend before conference play commences March 4-5 in the Missouri Western State Invite.

The Washburn Lady Blues’ softball team heads into the spring season with intentions of improving on last season’s mediocre performance. The Lady Blues who finished 30-26 overall and 5-13 in conference play last season, have All- MIAA first teamers catcher Huske, outfielder Ashley Webb and MIAA second team infielder Brooke DeVader returning.

The Blues will have a solid infield consisting of junior Mikala Mohler at third base, sophomore Malarie Fellers at second and redshirt freshman Dani White at first. DeVader who garnered awards with her play at first base, has moved to shortstop. With the exception of White who missed last season with a knee injury, the infield played most, if not all, of last season.

The Blues have lost last year’s starting pitchers Erin Bryan and Gloria Jobe by way of transfers and are looking to returning starters Pierce and sophomore Kelly Swygert to lead the Blues. The Lady Blues will have MIAA honorable mention sophomore outfielder Mandy Tarbutton and freshman Amanda Hauck teaming up with Webb in the outfield.

When the Blues aren’t being led by their upperclasswomen, it’s usually the bats of DeVader and White that gets the momentum going in the dugout. The Lady Blues have only two seniors, Pierce and Huske, but have plenty of game experience to rely on. The Blues will have six players on the team who started in every game last season and are looking to make the conference tournament, which they were unable to do last season.

“Our main goal this season is making the [conference] tournament, since we didn’t make it last year. There’s some disappointment about last year, but we just have to learn from it, and move on. We are a pretty close team, and we have fun, so we should do well,” said Pierce.