With the Lady Eagles pre-season coming to a close, they were able to clench a 10-1 record while traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada and Yuma, Arizona. The Eagles softball team faced seven different competitors including nationally ranked teams such as Central Arizona College and Eastern Arizona College.
Throughout the two weekends of games, the Eagles’ pitching staff was able to stack up a combined total of 50 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.1. Lexi Butterfield clenched three wins in the circle after pitching 22 innings. Preslee Christensen was able to hold 22 of the 50 strikeouts and only 17 hits in the 24 innings she pitched.
“With the defense we have this year, I have been able to count on them to make the outs,” said sophomore pitcher Sydney Smith. I am a ground ball pitcher, meaning the defense will have to be able to make the plays, and so far, they have been able to prove that they always have my back.”
The Eagles’ defense was able to hold strong with only 15 errors in the early games and an outstanding number of 6 double plays. After only practicing on the dirt once, the pitchers were able to, “confide and trust in our defense,” said pitcher Preslee Christensen. “With the defense being strong, I am able to be more confident in the circle.”
Not only was the defense able to make great plays for their pitchers to thrive off of, but their energy in the games as well.
Pitcher and shortstop Paige Shumway said,” I thrive off of our defense and the energy they are putting off. When they are able to communicate and make plays, it takes a lot of pressure off of me making a huge difference in how I pitch.”
With the Eagles impeccable teamwork, they have been able to work together in all aspects of the game.
While the Lady Eagles defense was strong in their first 11 games, their offense was doing just as well. The Eagles bats were hot with 125 hits, including 41 extra base hits. With Kalsey Lopes leading the team with 23 RBI’s and 4 homeruns, many other Eagles were hot in the box as well. Including Micaela Resler, with 16 singles and two triples.
“Before these past couple weekends, I worked a lot on placing the ball,” said Resler. “Being able to put the ball where I want it is a game changer. I was able to focus on placing the ball in the gaps of the infield and it has really shown.”
Eagles Paige Shumway and Gia Bruno had five doubles, Paige Herbon had three doubles, Brinley Johnson added two home runs, Brinnley Anderson and Graciee Christiansen with a homerun a piece, and many more players were able to contribute to the ladies high scoring games.
Even though the Eagles were able to rack up the runs, they weren’t able to come out on top against Pima Community College. With the Eagles struggling to collect a lead, the Aztecs came out with the win 12-8. Although the Eagles weren’t able to come out with the win, that didn’t stop them for long.
“The team really showed grit, and everyone had each other’s backs,” said interim co-head coach Ashlee Snyder. “The whole time in Yuma, was a battle. Everyone was able to continue showing what our team is made of and I’m really proud of how they didn’t shut down.”
Although the softball team fell in game five of their six game weekend in Yuma, Arizona, they were able to pull out game six against host team Arizona Western.
“After starting 7-0, and losing the first game of the season, I think game six showed how much heart this team actually has,” added Snyder. Western was up 8-1 after the second inning and these girls found a way to work together to come out on top.”
After the Eagles had a rough couple innings, they were able to secure the win in the 7th inning, with the final score of 9-8.
Although the Lady Eagles are still trying to work out a few kinks, they have been able to have a very successful start to their spring season. The USU Eastern softball team will start conference play in a short two weeks.