Softball season on steady stroll

The softball team has officially started the 2013 season and will be working to get back to the playoffs again. The Lady Cru will be looking to add another regular season American Southwest Conference west division title for a third year in a row.

Last season, the Lady Cru were defeated by Louisiana College 4-3 in the semifinals of the American Southwest Conference tournament. Assistant Softball Coach Julie Norris thinks the team has a great shot this season to win the west division  and more.

“Our number one team goal this season is to win the conference tournament. We were very close last year and feel like we match up well with the teams in our conference this year,” Norris said.

They opened west division conference play this past weekend. The team traveled to Austin, Texas, and played two doubleheaders against Concordia University.

The Lady Cru went 3-1 in the series against the Tornados. The team was victorious on the first day with 1-0 5-2 victories. On the second day, the Lady Cru won the first day  5-0, but fell in the final game 1-0.

The loss came in extra innings that put the Crusaders’ overall record at 8-6 and 3-1 in conference play.

Sophomore exercise and sport science major Leanne Hinojosa said west division play is key to success.

“Every conference game is extremely important because in order to get into the conference tournament you have to be in the top 4 of our division. So with that, we must win as many conference games as possible to get into the conference tournament at the end of the season.”

Senior exercise and sport science major Caitlin Bollier agrees.

“Each conference game is important. We can’t take any team or any game lightly. The ASC West is going to be very strong, and we need to win every game because it will be a tight race,” she said.

This season, the Lady Cru will consist of three seniors: Caitlin Bollier, Brittany Moreno, and Ariel Kemmerer.  The team will also have 10 returnees and will add nine new players to the roster.

Hinojosa said the depth the new players bring this year provides a wide variety of skills.

“The newcomers definitely give us a whole different team. From our pitching staff to our batting lineup, the possibilities have increased. This gives us many opportunities to become a quicker and simultaneously, a stronger team.”

Sophomore biology major Dayton Kunz appreciates the addition of freshmen and transfer teammates.

“The new players offer lots of opportunity for our team. They are very hard working, and our team has incredible team chemistry. We all get along very well. All the new girls are positive and also help keep everyone motivated. They have already pushed the rest of the team to work hard every day and earn their position at every practice,” Kunz said.

The Lady Cru will return home to host west division rival Howard Payne University in a back-to-back double header March 15-16 at Dee Dillon Field.

The first game will be played at 5 p.m. followed by the second game of the doubleheader. The Lady Cru will have their second double header on Saturday beginning at noon.

Author: Jake Stamps

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