By Cody Weems
The baseball and softball regular seasons are coming to a close, and both teams have their eyes set on postseason play with a shot at a conference championship.
The baseball team currently sits fourth in the West Division of the American Southwest Conference, holding on to the final spot in the conference tournament.
The team has had to deal with the inexperience of players, but sophomore pitcher and pre-physical therapy major Ian Ekery believes they are tough to beat when they play at their full potential.
“Some days our offensive approach can be a bit streaky. Some days our pitching isn’t as sharp as it could be, but we’ve also seen glimpses of how we look when we can put it all together,” Ekery said. “Whenever we’re on that level, I like our chances against anyone out there.”
The lack of experience has been difficult at times, but freshman outfielder and accounting major Chase Burrow thinks the team has discovered its identity through the challenges.
“We have grown to know what each player brings to the table,” Burrow said. “We have four to six freshmen in the lineup every game, and they have really stepped up. We know that the upperclassmen will do their job, and they trust us to do ours.”
Even though the team has defied expectations this season, they’re not satisfied with just being in the conference tournament; they want to win it. And plan on doing whatever it takes to achieve their goals.
“We know what is at stake, and we know what we have to do,” Burrow said. “We are gearing up to make a run. The ASC is a tough league, and we have a tough team ready to rise to the challenge.”
Meanwhile, the softball team sits second in the ASC West, and though they may not repeat as division champions, their goal of winning the conference tournament is still very much alive.
“We started the season with one goal in mind, and that is winning the conference tournament,” Assistant Coach Julie Norris said. “We are still on track with that goal, which will put us in the regional tournament.”
The team came into the season with high expectations after making it to the conference tournament championship a season ago. This year, they’ve endured some rough patches at times, but senior infielder and exercise and sport science major Caitlin Bollier believes the team is stronger because of it.
“It has been an up and down season, but I think this group of individuals has dealt with the adversity well,” Bollier said. “We have continued to grow as a team, and we push each other to get better every day.”
The team boasts an experienced pitching staff led by senior exercise and sport science major Rebekah Ragsdale, who feels it’s her duty to step up as a leader for the younger players.
“I believe leading by example and letting them know how important it is to us upperclassmen can potentially inspire them as well,” Ragsdale said.
While a conference championship is the team’s current focus, the ultimate goal is advancing to the regional tournament with a shot at playing for a national championship.
“Winning the conference tournament and advancing to the regional tournament would mean so much to these girls and this program,” Norris said. “We want to represent Mary Hardin-Baylor softball on a larger scale.”