Softball hits the ground running

Hanson Lee, Sports Editor

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The Wildcats put together an impressive start to the season and have been able to stay strong up until this point. With an Overall record of 21-8 and a conference record of 9-3, the Wildcats are currently sitting at first place in the GNAC conference. The season started early February.

“We’re playing some great softball right now,” said Michael Larabee, head coach of the softball team.

Larabee praised the team’s ability to deliver at the mound as well as at the plate.

“I’m especially happy with our pitching,” Larabee said. “With the way we swing the bats, we’re gonna have a real chance at being real successful.”

As far as records, the Wildcats are finding themselves in a similar position to where they found themselves at this time last season. Larabee emphasized the importance of having a winning attitude and explained that in comparison to last season, the Wildcats have drastically improved their mindset this season.

“What we’re focusing on right now is trying to come out and learn and grow and get better each day,” Larabee said. “I’m really proud of our team, they’ve really been able to do that this year.”

The Wildcats kicked off their season by traveling to Montana for the MSUB Desert Stinger where they were able win three out of their first five games of the season.

Following those wins, the Wildcats went on to win 11 out of their next 14 games which included an impressive nine game winning streak.

Sophomore Savannah Egbert has led the offensive charge for the team this season. In 29 games for the Wildcats, Egbert has strung together 46 hits in 97 at-bats for an impressive .474 batting average.

“We’ve been practicing a lot,” Egbert said. “We’re just excited to get out on the field and play games.”

In her second year as a Wildcat Egbert has not only excelled at the plate but has also stepped into a higher role this season- batting leadoff for the Wildcats.

Freshman Lexie Strasser has stepped into a key role for the Wildcats this season. She currently leads the way at the starting pitcher position. The freshman standout has been able to up big for the Wildcats this season, already putting together a 12-5 record backed behind an impressive 2.26 ERA.

The Wildcats recently came out of the Tournament of Champions where they gave a strong showing, winning nine out of their 10 games.

“We played really good games,” Egbert said. “It was great competition for us to see how the GNAC does versus everybody else.”

Strasser was able to string together a strong showing in the tournament, going 4-1 over the course of the week with an ERA of 0.28.

Strasser was named to the 2018 Tournament of Champions All-Tournament Team alongside her teammate Taelor Griffin for her performance on the mound in the tournament.

“It was exciting,” Strasser said. “Everyone’s really supportive… there’s a lot of good team chemistry.”  

Last year, the Wildcats made it to the GNAC tournament with a record of 33-13, but ended up falling twice in their first three games to start the tournament.

“All of us want to be GNAC champs,” Egbert said. “We want to keep going with our streak. We want to position ourselves in that regional position.”

Egbert brought up the team’s mantra which has helped everybody maintain a winning mindset so far this season.

“Chasing perfection, catching excellence,” Egbert said. “We know we can’t be perfect, it’s a game of failure, but if we strive for that, we’re gonna catch excellence along the way.”

With the Wildcats excelling on the offensive end as well as on the mound, the team has also been able to put a lot of focus towards solidifying their defense, an aspect of this year’s team that hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“We’ve got a great formula right now,” Larabee said. “We’ve got a great culture going on… When you add talent, you add our preparation, that’s an awful tough combination to beat.”  

With a good portion of the season still left to play, the Wildcats are looking forward to continuing their success on the field in hopes of making a run in the GNAC tournament.

“We need to keep doing what we’re doing right now,” Larabee said. “At this point, you don’t focus on the GNAC tournament… You take things day by day and I think we’ll be in a good spot.”