Written by Nic Fraraccio // Photo provided by Bisons Softball
The Lady Bisons softball team began their season last weekend with a five-game tournament at the Mardis Gras Invitational in Youngsville, Louisiana. The Lady Bisons won four of their five games, including a win over sixth-ranked Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Harding split their first two games Friday with a 6-3 win over Delta State University and 4-3 loss against Mississippi College. Sophomore pitcher Riley Price earned the first win of the season for the Lady Bisons after throwing six innings and striking out five. Junior pitcher Abby Burch closed out the win against Delta State to tally her first save of the season.
Burch said it was nice to finally pitch against other teams after scrimmaging against her teammates for the last several weeks. The Arkansas native finished her weekend with three saves and a win.
On Saturday, the Lady Bisons collected two victories with a 5-2 win over Midwestern State University and 6-5 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville. Harding collected their 19th career win over a ranked opponent after the extra-inning battle against the Texas team.
Sophomore infielder Emma Curry said the team was screaming and standing on top of bleachers throughout the game against Texas A&M-Kingsville.
“We literally lost our voices,” Curry said.
The Lady Bisons concluded their opening weekend on Sunday with a 2-1 victory against Union University. Harding’s pitching proved to be pivotal in the victory, only allowing three hits against the Bulldogs.
As conference play looms, Harding has set some big goals for the 2023 season. Lady Bison head coach Ashley Reeves said the team is aiming for at least 45 wins this season.
“We are a great team as long as we stay consistent to who we are,” Reeves said. “Top to bottom, we are a good team, and it should be an exciting year.”
The talent of the Lady Bisons has not gone unnoticed. Senior Nicole Shano, sophomore Leigha Harris and Curry were ranked in the Extra Elite Top 100 Division II player rankings.
Shano said she and the rest of the team are ready to keep playing following the successful opening weekend.
“We are just ready to keep on going and push the pedal to the metal,” Shano said. “All gas, no brakes.”
The Lady Bisons will travel to Bentonville, Arkansas, next weekend to play in the Alvy Early UAM Softball Classic. The following weekend, Harding will travel to Smyrna, Tennessee, to play in the Music City Invitational.