The softball team had a successful start to the spring season with a two-game win against Christian Brothers University (CBU) on Jan. 30, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Head coach Phil Berry said that since the program’s beginning three years ago, the team has had hopes of scoring a conference title this season.
“The first game was close for four innings with Christian Brothers taking an early lead,” Berry said. “We held them at bay and finally broke out after the fourth inning.”
Second baseman graduate student Kinsey Beck, who is in her last year of NCAA eligibility, got a base hit and stole second, allowing junior catcher Kimmy Hendricks to score Beck in during the fourth inning.
“Once we settled in and got going, you couldn’t stop us,” Beck said. “Our defense was sound, which led us to a 9-2 victory over Christian Brothers in the first game.”
A tie between the two teams was broken when the Lady Bisons scored six runs, with freshman outfielder Peyton Mills scoring a two-run triple. Junior outfielder/infielder Brookelynn Moon scored a double to finish up several innings of successful scoring.
Junior centerfielder Courtney Derrick noted that it took the team a few innings to “shake off their nerves” in the first game, but they came out strong and won against CBU.
“Our offense was big as always and with our power hitters and speed on the bases we scored 21 runs in twogames,” Derrick said. “Our defense did great as well especially our infield. They knocked down hard ground balls and got big outs. Our pitchers pitched great and kept (CBU) from getting a lot of big hits and allowing them to only score two runs in the first game and none in the second.”
The second game was a shutout by the Lady Bisons, and they won 12-0 against CBU. The team scored multiple runs in the first inning and prevented the Lady Bucs from scoring any runs during the second game.
“We were mentally engaged and focused during the second game,” Beck said. “Both our offense and defense were on.”
According to Berry, game two started fast with four runs scored in the first inning and junior infielder Amanda Berdon hit a three-run homerun. Seven runs were scored in the second inning with Hendricks hitting her first career grand slam. Senior pitcher Taylor Friend hit her first collegiate homerun, and freshman pitcher Ashley Smith pitched a complete game shutout in five innings.
“We are very pleased with the way we got things started,” Berry said. “Three of our pitchers, all new to our program, were able to get their feet wet and get a couple of wins under their belts.”
Berry said the team’s defense was solid and that they worked hard in the off-season to improve it.
The Lady Bisons will play in the Ronnie Hawkins Memorial Classic hosted by Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas on Feb. 6.