The Taylor softball team had a rough past weekend in gameplay. They first played Bethel University, splitting the series and winning the first game. The next series was at home and senior day. Playing Marian University, they lost both ball games by scores of 6-3 and 9-1.
Against Bethel, game one was electric. Senior Maddi Evans struck out 9 batters. Senior Ashton Whitman scored a home run to push the lead that would win the game. She now has six home runs on the season, and the Trojans won 5-2.
In game 2, the Trojans were up early, with a 2-0 lead. They took the scores off of offensive errors by Bethel, thanks to senior Nicole Brindle and sophomore Jersey Tannehill. Sadly, Bethel took two runs in the fourth inning and put up another two runs in the sixth, pushing the score to 4-2 and winning the game.
Junior Caitlyn Grim ran in a score thanks to senior Alexi Clay in game one to attain the only victory of the weekend. She also got on base in game two off a Bethel error. She reflects on her performance, as well as the mentality of the team in this losing stint.
“We are in a rough patch right now,” she said. “We’ve been trying to find our identity in who we are as a team.” She said that there are now three pitchers out with injuries, as well as a third baseman. Trying to fill those positions and finding the energy to do so, is something that Grim said the team is dealing with.
Aside from the losses, Grim is having another great season. After setting career highs in eight major offensive categories last year, her efficiency has continued to be elite.
In the Marian series, Grim did it again, knocking an RBI double, leading to a score by Whitman. Unfortunately, all Trojan scores came in the first three innings, as Marian went on to score three more and win game one.
“For me, it’s what I can do better for the team, whether it’s supporting my pitchers through RBI’s, getting on base, and being someone that the pitcher can trust,” she said.
Senior Alexi Clay proved to be a vital hitter, having the single to run in Grim in game one against Bethel. In game two against Marian, Clay was one of four hitters that had two hits. Sadly, the Lady Trojans lost both games to the Knights.
Clay, doesn’t let the losses get to her head. Rather, she just keeps on trying to play the best ball she can.
“We (the team) have a short term memory when it comes to losses,” she said. “We know we have to shake it off and focus on our next competition…When it doesn’t go our way, we bounce back and focus on the next series”.
Clay is having a career season. Nearly every statistical category in her game has gone up, notably games played (39), at-bats (113), hits (36), and slugging percentage (.434). She has really stepped her game up in this season.
Even with the poor record, and the injuries, head coach Erin Bellinger has had to make adjustments in the lineup. She said that the team has not been able to practice outside due to poor weather conditions. So, in the times that practices are inside, it has been a struggle to practice game-like situations with players in new positions.
“This is a rough season that we’ve had,” she said. “We still just have to come together, play as a team, and see where that takes us”.
Coach Bellinger did say that injuries have been a rough spot for the season. The team has put players in different positions, that have not played before. This made for some tough situations, and made the team have a need to come back to a winning style.
Bellinger is confident that success can happen in the small amount of time left in the season. She alluded to succes in previous years, and how that success can be attained.
The Lady Trojans have two more series matchups, followed by the Crossroads League Tournament. There should be high hopes that a win streak can happen soon.