The Muskingum University softball team came back from the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, FL with an unexpected 2-10 record.
While the team didn’t come back with the record they wanted, they fought hard throughout their 12 games in Florida. Eight of the 10 losses were close games, with the Muskies losing by less than three runs.
Senior pitcher Haley Dotson said that while Muskingum Softball always has a tough strength of schedule in the Rebel Spring Games, the close losses showed their potential.
“When we played the nationally ranked teams, we hung with them, we should have won those games,” said Dotson. “I think these games we realized how good we were and how good we could be.”
The team hit and pitched well with a .271 team batting average and 2.67 overall earned run average. Dotson and sophomore Rachel Eberling pitched to a 2.58 earned run average. Sophomore infielder Cassie Thomas hit well, leading the team with a .351 batting average. Head Softball Coach, Kari Winters, said while the hitting and pitching were solid, the Muskies lacked clutch hits to push runners across home plate to go along with their inconsistent infield defense.
“We have to be a wall in the infield,” said Winters. “Infield errors lose you ballgames just like outfield errors do. We really need to clean it up.”
The two wins for the Muskies came against Bridgewater on March 5, 3-0, and against Montclair State on March 9, 11-3.
Listen to the March 14 Muskie Sports Blast featuring softball team members.
Senior centerfielder Dakota DeAmicis said the team had a good week of practice preparing for Ohio Athletic Conference play.
“Coming [home] from Florida, you’re definitely not going to see that team anymore,” said DeAmicis. “We’re going to be playing Muskingum softball how it should be played traditionally, physically, and mentally. [If] anything, we’re going to come back a lot stronger and faster then you’ve seen.”
Dotson echoed that sentiment, stating while opposing teams may look at their losing record as an easy win she wanted “to prove everybody wrong” and play tough.
Winters said in this weeks’ practices, she emphasized playing with intensity that they didn’t have in Florida.
“You have to play with some fire and you have to play with some heart and most importantly, a purpose,” said Winters. You can’t be scared to win, you have to be scared to lose. If you played scared to lose and are not willing to lose, you’re going to beat teams.”
Winters said the team is also focusing this week on being mentally tough offensively and defensively.
Senior infielder Jess Matthews said this team will be better in the incoming weeks.
“I have complete confidence in my team and in their strength and heart and passion that we will come back and beat the teams that are doubting us,” said Matthews. “I love a challenge and I know my teammates do too. I’m ready to see what we are going to do.
The team will kick off their home schedule this week with a doubleheader against Thomas More on Saturday, March 18 with an eye looking towards OAC play. First pitch in game one is scheduled for 1 p.m., with WMCO pregame starting at 12:30 on the Orbit.