Junior Carolyn Wilmes pitches the ball in the game against Central Michigan at the Varsity Softball Complex on April 23, 2016. Ball State softball (3-11) competed in the Citrus Classic I over the weekend at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. Allye Clayton // DN File
Young roster moves Ball State softball 'in the right direction' in Wildcat Invitational
Ball State softball finished the Wildcat Invitational in Tucson, Arizona, with a 2-3 record, and areisnow 3-7 on the season.
Playing a young roster that features seven freshmen, assistant coach Josh Johnson said the Cardinals are headed in the right direction.
“I don’t think going 2-3 really speaks to the level that we see as coaches,” Johnson said. “We’re seeing the team build and come together. We are playing tough teams and I think the overall picture is very positive. We already feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”
Freshman right-hander Darcie Huber leads Ball State pitchers with a 3.61 ERA. Going 1-1 over the weekend, Huber was credited with Saturday's win against Abilene Christian. Huber is now 3-1, only allowing 16 runs in 31 innings pitched (In softball, ERAs are adjusted to reflect the seven-inning games).
“What [Huber] is doing very well is managing the situation well,” Johnson said. “She’s not pitching like a freshman, but is pitching like a seasoned veteran. She’s moving the ball and not getting phased by trouble situations.”
The freshman duo of Janae Hogg and Kennedy Wynn carried the Cardinal’s offense in Tucson, totaling for 13 of the team’s 36 hits over the weekend. Hogg, with a .357 batting average on the season, had three RBI’s over the weekend, while Wynn had four RBI’s and is hitting .474.
Suffering from an injury early this season, Hogg has been an important part of the Cardinal offense as a designated player. Pinch-hitting for freshman Tara Morey in a close game against Boston College on Sunday, Hogg hit an RBI single up the middle to tie the game. Wynn joined hitting a 2-RBI single of her own, to give the Cardinals a 4-2 lead.
“[Hogg] had a bad knee incident, so we get a pinch-runner for her anytime she gets on base because she is a big part of our offense, even as a designated player,” Johnson said. “Any opportunity we can get her in in a close situation, we definitely want her in there.”
Ending another weekend of play, the Cardinals are looking forward to combining the chemistry they have developed on and off the field as they get deeper into the season.
“The chemistry has been great,” Johnson said. “I think the chemistry on the field has been tough because everyone is playing so many different positions. Once we get to the point where we settle into our lineup a little bit, the chemistry that we’ve developed off the field will really start to show up on the field this season.”