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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
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TU softball opens year with quality wins

Trojans start year 4-4

Taylor softball geared up for the season with opening games in a sunnier part of the states. 

The team began the season in Lawrenceville, Georgia where they had a pair of losses on Friday,  Feb. 9, first to No. 4 ranked Georgia Gwinnett, 6-1, and second, 6-5 to Lindsay Wilson. 

They improved on day two with a win against Lindsay Wilson 6-0, followed by a third loss in a rematch against Georgia Gwinnett 12-0. 

In their Saturday victory, junior pitcher Mackenzie Noah pitched all seven innings with no earned runs, two strikeouts and allowed only five hits. Six doubles were hit in total for the Trojans by sophomores Delaynee McCreary and Kaylee Larkin, senior Jersey Tannehill and junior Meg Stanley, with two hit by senior Aleyah Rastetter.

To add to the team’s momentum, sophomore Brooke Sanchez hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth. The Trojans also excelled at the moment-to-moment impact plays. Sophomores Madisyn Standridge, Livie Lehmann and Delaney Barton combined to steal four bases while Lehmann and Tannehill teamed up for a double play in the fifth inning. 

Interim head coach Doug Gower led the team after former head coach Jessica Brown stepped down. Gower, who served as the assistant coach during the Trojan’s 2023 season, stepped into the head coaching position for the 2024 season.

Gower was a head coach at Huntington University for 17 years before his time at Taylor. He said his experience set him up well to help the team win. 

“I’ve been in this conference; I know what it takes to win,” Gower said. “We have the talent to win; we just need to get used to winning again and have the confidence every day to go out there and get the job done.”

He said he feels blessed to have 18 players who work extremely hard on their physicality, mentality and skill set. They have given him full participation and respect throughout the transition as they “strive to get better.” 

Tannehill said Gower’s transition to head coach, while challenging, was a blessing because the team was already familiar with his coaching style. She said they’ve been learning to adjust and have seen team leadership among the players rise during those challenges. 

“When we went through that big change, so many people stepped up or [were] there for each other,” Tannehill said. “I feel like the way our team is, there’s no one person that’s captain or leader, we all lead pretty well.”

She said the whole team has been involved in keeping each other accountable in ways that involve their athletic and spiritual lives. She said it’s special that it is not only seniors and coaches leading but also underclassmen. 

On the field, both Gower and Noah expressed their goals to reach the top of the conference and gain another Nationals bid.

“In conference this year, I think it’s a good goal to have to get more wins to be better suited for the tournament at the end of the season,” Noah said.

She said they strive to play as a team while continuing playing together and trusting each other in their upcoming games on March 6 in Fort Wayne against Indiana Tech. Their doubleheader is scheduled for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.