Racer softball alternated between losses and wins with a record of 2-3 at the Blues City Classic Feb. 21-23.
The Racers split the first day of the tournament with a loss to Appalachian State 5-0 and a win over the University of Evansville 6-0. Junior shortstop Alexa Becker said the loss is one she wishes she could get back.
“I wouldn’t say we had an off weekend,” Becker said. “There were games that we thought we could have played better, definitely, but that’s just how softball goes, and that’s why you play the game. In this sport, anything can happen.”
Becker said the team was not focused for its first game in the tournament. She said the players seemed to be going through the motions rather than thinking about what needed to be done.
“I think for our team when we’re locked in and focused and ready to go from the start, from the first inning, we are at our best,” she said. “Going forward, that’s what we can look at – take the things we need to improve on and work on them in practice this week.”
Becker and freshman teammate Cayla Lewis were named to the All-Tournament Second Team following the tournament.
Becker went 6 for 18 on the weekend with two home runs, one of which was her first career grand slam. It was only the seventh grand slam in Racer softball’s five-year program. She also tallied five RBIs and a walk.
“My biggest thing is just consistency,” Becker said. “It’s a hard thing as a hitter, but just trying to continue to be there for my team and get on base any way possible. Ultimately, I want to win in any way possible.”
She said the game is about the team, and she is not as worried about her performance individually.
Junior CheyAnne Gaskey and freshman Mason Robinson alternated as starting pitchers with sophomore J.J. Francis relieving in four of the five games.
“It’s never easy to be thrown into the middle of a game, but at the same time you want to be there for your team,” Francis said. “You just have to be there when your number is called.”
The Blues City Classic was the Racers’ first five-game tournament of the season, but Head Coach Kara Amundson doesn’t think that was a factor in her team’s performance.
“I don’t like that being an excuse for us losing,” Amundson said. “I think that we’re a very well-conditioned team. I don’t think that we weren’t ready.”
She said while the team can produce runs once the bats get going, the Racers find it hard to score when things are quieter.
“We don’t do as well when our bats are quiet,” Amundson said. “That’s kind of what happened in our losses this weekend. We do a good job of riding our offensive game, but if it’s not there we kind of get complacent sometimes.”
Despite barely having a winning record at this point, Amundson said she thinks the team is better than the numbers in the books.
“I think we’re sitting in a really good spot,” she said. “Record aside, I think it feels like we’re in an even better spot than our record says. The last game that we lost, the score was two to seven. You would have thought it was a much closer game than that. Those kinds of losses always feel like it was a much closer game.”
Story by Mallory Tucker, staff writer