SOFTBALL: Ball State coach Tyra Perry brings new philosophy

The Daily News

The Ball State softball program is built around power hitters. All-American Jennifer Gilbert leads a roster full of athletes that can change a game in one at-bat.

New softball coach Tyra Perry said hitters have slumps. Speed isn’t quite so inconsistent in her eyes.

“The style that I like to play works around the table-setters,” Perry said. “I love that saying ‘speed never slumps.’ It always shows up to the ball field.”

Perry’s Western Kentucky team stole 82 bases in 61 games last year. With 1.34 stolen bases per game the Hilltopers ranked 53rd in NCAA Division I softball.

It’s that kind of production she wants to implement to Ball State’s team.  

“I’m really, really looking to bring in speed,” she said. “Not just a little bit of it, but maybe more of an emphasis on it to where the top of the line-up and the bottom of the line-up reflects speed. Just to manufacture runs a little bit more so when our bats aren’t working we’ll have a little more to use to win.”

The Cardinals captured the Mid-American Conference regular season championship with a 37-17 record last season. Though Ball state entered postseason play as the No. 1 seed it fell short in the MAC tournament.

Perry hopes to change a trend that has developed in recent seasons. Despite winning four of the last five regular season championships, Ball State captured just one tournament championship during that span.

“I felt like with the success softball has had in the past under Craig [Nicholson] that there was a true sense of pride about it,” Perry said.”On the same token, they weren’t satisfied with the success. I love the challenge of coming in and continuing the success, but taking things to the next level.”

Perry said she will do her part in scheduling to find opponents capable of making Ball State an “attractive candidate” for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

It’s about more than just winning in the MAC Tournament for Perry, but going deep into the postseason isn’t the only thing on her mind. Perry said one of the biggest challenges lies in making sure her system is accepted by players.

“Just making sure the young ladies buy into what my system is,” she said. “I know they had a system in the past they really liked, and we’ll definitely honor some of the things that worked for them. Also, [players] knowing that I’m a different person, and there are some things that might change a little bit, but it’s all about improving the good of the program.”



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