After spending the first three weeks of the season on the road, the Webster University softball team played their first home games of the season on March 12 and were swept in a doubleheader by the DePauw University Tigers. The Gorloks started the season 7-2, but five straight losses have dropped the team to 7-7.
DePauw, the No. 6 team in the country according to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll, showed why they’re ranked so highly. They held the Gorloks to three hits in each game while banging out 19 total hits themselves en route to 7-1 and 7-0 victories at Blackburn Park.
Webster’s only run came courtesy of junior Chelsea Schaffer’s solo shot in the seventh inning of game one.
DePauw broke open the first game when their clean-up hitter, Emma Minx, blasted a fourth-inning grand slam to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. In the second game, Rachel MacBeth and Amy Hallett each hit home runs to lead DePauw to the lopsided win.
Arcangel and Schaffer accounted for four of the six hits the Gorloks recorded against the Tigers. Schaffer carries a .500 batting average and already has accumulated 22 hits and 11 runs scored. Arcangel is hitting .325.
Schaffer said she takes a simple approach to hitting.
“I go up there and try to hit the first good pitch I see,” Schaffer said. “My goal is to get on base every time.”
After coming back from a week in Florida, Webster had only one practice outside before the DePauw games, which could have impacted the Gorloks’ performance.
“I don’t know what it was,” said sophomore Jessica Arcangel. “It could have been fatigue. We just didn’t place the ball well and the hits were not falling.”
Arcangel said she remains confident in the team’s hitting ability.
“We haven’t seen a pitcher we can’t handle,” she said. “We just need to string some hits together and not hit it right at them.”
Three days before the DePauw doubleheader, the Gorloks returned home after playing eight games in five days at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Florida.
After a very promising start to the event, Webster dropped their final three games and finished the trip with a 4-4 record. The Gorloks only scored three runs in those last three losses and were shut out twice.
“In Florida, we could have played better as a team,” said freshman pitcher Trisha Thompson. “We really need to prove to our team and coaches that we can play better and win.”
Thompson has proved to be invaluable thus far. She is 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA and was named the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference pitcher of the week for Feb. 28 through March 6. Junior Hanna Brindisi was named the SLIAC offensive player of the week that same week.
“I think I could do even more to help the team,” Thompson said. “I really think there is room for improvement.”
The Gorloks will rest this week before facing Augustana College and Coe College in the Marriott West Tournament on March 20. Webster plays Augustana at 9 a.m. and Coe at 3 p.m. in Clayton.
“We need to put it all together — pitching, defense, and hitting,” Schaffer said. “If we can do that, we’ll be OK. We will win our conference and go to regionals.”