Justin Chapman | Echo
The softball team has started this year out with a winning record of 5-4. On Feb. 24, the squad had a double header against No. 12 Campbellsville. The Trojans lost the first game 11-1, but they bounced back in the second game to capture a 7-6 victory.
Taylor's goal for this season is to reach the NAIA opening round. Playing against a nationally ranked team like Campbellsville helped the Trojans gauge how they need to improve.
Both games were played at Campbellsville, and the first game was only five innings long. The mercy rule called for an early ending to the game. Senior Anna Gunderson gave the Trojans their lone point. The team knew they could defeat Campbellsville and went on to prove it for a major win for Taylor's program.
"They hit the ball extremely well in the first game," head coach Brad Bowser said. "We did too (but) they just hit it over the fence, and we were hitting it right at people. (It was) a really good team for us to play against."
Hitting the ball well is exactly what Taylor accomplished in the second game. While they did not hit any home runs, the team came out with a ferocious 7-0 lead in the fifth inning after junior Davis Carter ran home after another Taylor batter batted the ball.
Campbellsville, being the good team they are, took advantage of Taylor's mistakes like errors or failing to hit the ball well. This caused the loss to look uglier than it was.
"I think that's the beauty of playing really good teams early," Bowser said. "You know what it looks like to get there at the back side."
It is crucial to play against great teams so Taylor knows what it needs to do to get to the opening round. Campbellsville is a team that has gone multiple times in the past and is capable of going again.
Taylor had a doubleheader against No. 8 Lindsey Wilson on February 25th. While the Trojans lost both, this gave them the chance to face great competition early on in the season.
"Our freshman year (we) went to nationals," Gunderson said. "Our goal this year is to get back to opening rounds because we definitely have a better team than we did our freshman year. It's just going to be us going out there (and) actually proving it to ourselves."
To make the national tournament, improving on small details like being disciplined when at bat need to happen. Fortunately, the team has time to make corrections, with the season just getting underway. There are 48 games left in the season, not including the postseason.
The conference season opener is not until March 14th and the Crossroads League contains great teams like (RV) Huntington, (RV) Indiana Wesleyan and No.7 Marian. A tough schedule can help the Trojans discover their issues and work on them.
"You've got to find a way to make some hits; walk some," Bowser said. "Get to a 2-1 count instead of a 1-2 count. Because at that point, the hitter's on the aggression, not the pitcher. When the pitcher gets to 1-2 or 0-2, you're in trouble; you're just at her mercy."
Taylor desires to improve in this area to help add a successful season to the program and hopefully make the opening rounds.
The Trojans will take on Indiana University Southeast and Lindenwood in a double header today in New Albany, Indiana. The next home game for Taylor will not be until March 10 when they face Asbury. The first game today is set for 11 a.m.
"Photograph provided by Fayth Glock"