Kayla Springer | Echo
The Taylor University softball team added to their impressive win streak this weekend, defeating Spring Arbor in a double header at home. The 8-5 and 8-0 wins marked 11 victories in a row for the Trojans.
After grabbing two more wins against Grace College on Tuesday night, the 13 wins in a row marked the longest win streak in head coach Brad Bowser's seven years with the program. But Bowser is not concerned with just wins and losses.
"It's all about doing little things well," Bowser said. "When you do that, you don't worry about win streaks but just worry about doing an inning at a time and an at-bat at a time. And for us, it's just playing a game at a time."
The biggest swing on Saturday came late in the first game, as sophomore Hannah Castor delivered a three-run, walk-off slam to break the 5-5 tie and give Taylor the win. Junior Cassie Kuizin landed five hits that day while senior Alex Lovelace notched three hits and scored four times between the two games.
Castor, who ended with four hits and five RBIs for the day, attributes the current success of the team to the depth of the Trojans' roster.
"Throughout our whole lineup, everyone can hit," Castor said. "And that's a big thing. If you can get 12 hits in a game, most of the time you're going to win."
According to Castor, the dynamic of the team is one of looseness and fun, which reveals itself by dancing before games and cheering during the game to reduce the nerves. According to Kuizin, this relaxed atmosphere has helped the team play to their potential both individually and collectively.
From freshmen to seniors, the team's pitching staff have been competing well. Senior Maddie Cornell improved to 5-1 with the first game win on the mound, striking out two batters and holding Spring Arbor scoreless in the final four innings. Fellow senior Hannah Robbins (6-3) took the win in game two, allowing just one hit in five innings. Freshman Dani Wyse finished up game two for the Trojans, controlling it for a scoreless sixth inning and delivering two strikeouts.
The team is in the heat of conference play and has 20 matches between now and the conference tournament, which starts May 3. In Bowser's words, the team as a whole excels in fighting through tough games, however, he thinks they need to work on coming out stronger in the beginning of games so they do not have to keep coming back and winning.
This hard-working group collected two more wins on Tuesday night in a doubleheader against Grace. Robbins dominated on the mound once again, breaking Taylor's record for the most career shutouts as she delivered a five-hit shutout.
Castor finished with another three hits for the day, while sophomore Courtney Moriarty and freshman Taylor Wilson both came away with two hits. Senior Lauren Ehle delivered at the plate as well, with a solo homerun in the sixth inning of game two.
These two wins earned the Trojans votes in the NAIA Top-25 Poll on Tuesday. This is the first time that the team has been in such a position this season.
The Trojans will look to build on their success as they take the field against Indiana Wesleyan on Saturday. The first match of the doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Gudakunst Field.
"Photograph provided by Fayth Glock"