Pirate Softball Preview

Dakota Soukup, Editor

Last season the Pirates’ softball team record was 19-22 (13-11 AMC). In the American Midwest Conference Championship tournament, Park was the eighth seed. The team made it to the semifinals to play Columbia College and was defeated 6-5. After a great underdog performance at the AMC Championships last season, the Pirates look to build on that post season run to start the 2019 season.

This year the Pirate softball team is returning 13 players, including five seniors. Head coach Lindsey Derry said they are having the upperclassmen and returning players show new players the ropes, “with practice and how things work here at Park.”

They want to have better leadership this year and better team chemistry. The team has team bonding nights, they do community service, and they all strive for a 3.5 or higher team grade point average. That, in return, builds strong team bonds and chemistry.

Derry talked about how tight games are won off the field – which translates into workouts, team bonding nights and mental preparedness. They had tight games that could have gone either way last year, and they want to change those around into their favor this season.

“The girls want to have a strong start to the season and be ready for what conference brings them at the end of the season,” Derry said.

There are three returning pitchers this year. Sophomores Lexie Duncan and Haley Williams and senior Kendal Cox.

As a freshman, Duncan appeared in 21 games with a 3.88 ERA. Her record for the season was 8-8 with 115.1 innings pitched and only 11 homeruns allowed. She will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Cox appeared in 12 games last season with a record of 2-1 with one save. In her 23.2 innings pitched, she had a 2.66 ERA without a homerun. Williams appeared in three games with a 4.20 ERA in 6.2 innings. She had a record of 0-1 and had zero homeruns earned.

The Pirates added two pitchers to their pitching staff this season. Sophomore Anna Albaugh transferred from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and Adrianna Solary, a freshman, is coming from Independence, Mo.

Last season in the batter’s box, the Pirates’ batting average was .313. They had 1,155 at bats with 361 totals hits. They outscored their opponents in total runs on the season 244 to 229. The team had 27 homeruns, which was 10 more than the opponents they faced.

The Pirates had 21 stolen bases with two caught stealing. They also had better on base percentages compared to their opponents. Park had a 38.1 OB percentage compared to a 37.9 OB percentage.

On the field, the Pirates had good defense. Their fielding percentage was 95.5 percent while their opponents were 94.3 percent. The team had 53 errors for the season, with 13 passed balls. Park had three more put outs than their opponents with 791 put outs. They also had a great amount of assists with 342.

The softball season is short compared to other sports. The Pirates will kick off the season at home against Dordt College on March 2 (weather permitting), and their final game before the AMC tournament is April 20 where they will host William Woods University.

This is why starting in August with practices and creating team chemistry quickly is so important. Being able to have that strong chemistry at the start of the season is how you have a strong start.

The Pirates begin the season with a double header against Ottawa University before they head to Tucson, Ariz., to play in the Tucson Invitational. The tournament will start on March 8 and end on March 10.

They will face 24th ranked University of Jamestown, University of Saint Francis and 7th ranked Indiana Wesleyan University to start the invitational. The next day they will face Concordia University and Olivet Nazarene University. To end the weekend, they will play Dickinson State University and Roosevelt University.

The Pirates will be challenged to start the season with playing the two ranked teams, which will be a great test to see where they need improvement. They will look to continue their strong defense, pitching and pushing to get more hits and runs in tight games this season.