The Racers served Alabama, the third ranked team in the country, a helping of defeat 8-2 before crushing Western Kentucky 7-0 only hours later on Saturday in Bowling Green, Ky.
“It was a good win for us; it’s Alabama, they’re at the World Series every year,” pitcher Shelby Kosmecki said. “I think everyone had a little nerves going into the first game but everyone kept their composure and came out and everyone played well all around.”
During the break between the Alabama and WKU game Kosmecki said the players encouraged each other to maintain their performance.
“In the past we’ve struggled keeping everything together to win a series of games and we came out and did that,” she said. “Everyone did a great job. We kept hitting the ball and everyone kept their composure in that, too.”
The 10 new players are making a difference, she said.
“After the Western game, one of our leaders, Megan Glosser, mentioned how in the past we struggled with winning series and how we’ve kind of identified ourselves with that and it’s become a stigma we couldn’t get past; but all these freshmen are coming in and they have no idea that happened so they just came in and played the whole day and never asked, ‘Oh man, I wonder if we’ll play the same as we did before?’ They’re bringing a newness to the team,” Kosmecki said.
Sophomore pitcher and centerfielder Leslie Bridges said a quick bond has formed with new players as returners are stepping up.
“They know what it’s like to play at that level and I already see a difference in them and how much they’ve grown and the leadership coming out of that,” she said. “I’m really excited to see what the team can do now.”
The team has a different identity than ever before, something Coach Jay Pyron said is a good thing in this case.
“It’s pretty exciting to see how the team is coming together and developing,” he said. “I think how we were able to maintain the level of play throughout the day says a lot about our leadership and growth they’ve shown in maturing both mentally and physically in learning the game.”
The Racers look to sustain their mindset against solid teams, including Saturday’s home game against Shawnee State University, Pyron said.
“It’s pretty fun to see the team getting a chance to play good competition; we didn’t really get that last year,” he said. “We won some games, but this year we’re getting tested by teams that are perennial powers and regional opponents we go up against in recruiting.”
The first pitch of the double header will be thrown at 2 p.m. Saturday at Racer Field.