Turnin' Two with Allison McClain
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

2/26/08

 

Hey Centenary softball fans! Welcome back after a long week of softball. As Sparky Anderson would say, “Success isn't something that just happens - success is learned, success is practiced and then it is shared” and with that, team success can be acknowledged, but until then—it is the process to that success that makes us much better.

I come at you a little more inspirational this week as we finished up another weekend of softball. Coming off an impressive outing against #7 Baylor a few weekends ago, we set out to face in-state rival Louisiana Tech last Wednesday for our first middle-of-the-week game.

Like many of you already know, we have had to face quite a bit of adversity this season, battling injuries and family issues. Though heading into the La Tech game, we knew how much a win would mean for our school and ourselves after having played many BCS (Bowl Championship Series) schools.

In the La Tech game, we had an amazing pitching performance by sophomore Ryan Thacker. She was able to hold the Lady Techsters to only three hits, while striking out six batters in her first complete game shutout on the season. Ryan has continued to work hard on the mound for us and has been able to pick up three wins thus far.

Offensively, we worked to improve our at-bats and find a way to score runs by putting the ball in play. Haley Bassett’s double, Amy Wiedeman’s infield single, and my two singles and a double were the only hits for us. However, several key at-bats from other people, along with Leslie Postles’ speed as a pinch runner gave us a 3-0 advantage in the top of the seventh inning. We were able to hold onto the lead in the bottom half of the inning, taking our second win on the season back to Shreveport.

6 a.m. Thursday morning rolled around as we headed to the Fitness Center to lift weights. Exhausted, we were, though as an athlete in season—you expect less sleep and early wake up calls. Thursday afternoon, we loaded on the bus for Houston to play in the University of Houston’s Marriot Houston Classic, which featured Texas State, Kansas, Cal-State Northridge, #16 UH, and Boston University.

We arrived in Houston late Thursday night, to prepare for the early 9 a.m. game against Texas State and a 1 p.m. game against Big 12 Kansas. Throughout the day, we struggled to plate runners dropping game one, 2-0 and game two, 4-0.

Even though we lost both games, we seemed to realize that we are in control of how we play. It may seem obvious, but a lot of times it is hard to accept that we should have taken advantage of certain opportunities during each of those games, keeping us from ending the day scoreless.

Another weekend in Texas allowed family and friends to come out to the Cougar softball field and watch us play. After the Friday games, many players went to dinner with their families while others shared a delightful meal at Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Houston with the team.

We were able to relax back at the hotel for the remainder of the night before facing Saturday’s competition with Cal-State Northridge at 1 p.m. and #16 University of Houston at 7 p.m.

On day two in Houston, we came out swinging the bats against Cal-State Northridge plating four runs in the first inning (more than the last three games combined), but unfortunately we weren’t able to hang on to the early lead, losing a 8-7 heartbreaker against the west coast team. The team was sparked by a solid performance from senior Lauren Flowers and her grand slam. Flowers and freshman Caitlin Cavarra both finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate.

Against Houston, we seemed to always battle their home field advantages, obnoxious fans, and a little controversy. With a little fight in us, after experiencing a let down against Cal-State Northridge, we came out ready to play. Sophomore Brittany Williams was able to connect on her first homerun of the season and the only run we scored. The game was overall a solid performance on most parts, though hit balls just couldn’t seem to find holes in the field. It ended in a 7-1 loss, though we left not completely disappointed.

It ended up being an extremely late night. We didn’t leave the ballpark until almost 11 p.m. knowing we had a wake up call again at 6 a.m. for a 9 a.m. game against Boston University. After arriving back at the hotel, we crashed from a long day in the sun.

As our phones rang for Sunday morning’s wake up, I have to admit, I hadn’t been that tired in a really long time. But knowing we still had a job to do, (taking at least one win away from this tournament) we packed up our things, grabbed a nice breakfast, and were hitting by 7:45 a.m.

Knowing little to nothing about Boston University (but the fact that they are in the same city as the Red Sox J), we came out with nothing to lose. After a few early chances of scoring we let slip away, we bounced back with an impressive third inning with seven runs on five hits—led by senior Amy Wiedeman’s three run homerun over the bus parked behind right field’s fence.

The game ended in our favor 7-4. Again, my roommate, Ryan Thacker got the win on the mound striking out seven BU batters while allowing only two earned runs. After the game ended, about every player iced up and headed to the bus back to the hotel. When arriving to the hotel, we loaded our travel bags up and headed to Beth Krysiak’s house for lunch. A native of The Woodlands, a suburb outside of Houston, her parent’s were kind enough to prepare fajitas and dessert for the team. It is always nice to have a home cooked meal during the season, when usually all we see is fast food. After lunch, we were on the road back to Shreveport arriving Sunday evening.

Going back to what success is...I find that working hard everyday will eventually contribute to the wanted success every team aspires to have. It is learned through criticism, others, and individual miscues that only will make us stronger. Success is practiced every day by athletes and reiterated through positive reinforcements, and success is ultimately shared. And as a team, we are headed in the right direction and will find that moment of exhilaration, continue to push through, and in the end—share success.

I wanted to congratulate Ryan on the Summit League Pitcher of the Week honor going 2-0 with a save in five appearances this past week. Well deserved!

We play Grambling today in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. and host Louisiana Tech this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Centenary Softball Complex. Come on out to see us play and check out the new additions to our field.

See you next week!

“I come to play everyday.” –David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

For the love of the game,

-Allison McClain