After starting the season with a 7-7 non-conference record, the Lady Rams softball team wants to put the past behind them and focus on conference play.
The Lady Rams held a lead in all but two of their 14 non-conference games. However, losing five of those leads put a dent in the team’s record, head coach Shannon Gower said.
“I feel like something we need to improve on is holding leads,” Gower said. “Being up in all but two of 14 games so far and only having seven wins is a little bitter.”
At the North Texas Softball Bash from Feb. 19 to 21, the Lady Rams went 4-2. Gower hopes the team’s play there will set the tone for conference play.
“The tournament really helped the girls physically and mentally and during the tournament they showed poise and determination,” Gower said.
Gower said she is happy with the non-conference play and knows that the team’s biggest challenges for the rest of the season will be on how well the players can manage themselves.
“Managing games and school for the players is probably one of the biggest challenges,” Gower said. “Battling small injuries and the large amount of games we’re about to play in a short period of time add to the chaos of the season as well.”
A few players in the young season have stood out to Gower a little more than others, she said.
“Everyone on the team is very versatile, but that being said a few of the girls have stepped their game up and are being noticed,” Gower said. “Samantha Vasquez, Kaylee Batchlear, Kayla Prachyl and Dani West have all played well thus far, and with hard work from the other players the team will excel.”
The Lady Rams won their first two conference games when they shut out Southwestern Assemblies of God University 6-0, 6-0 on March 1.
The Lady Rams face off against Saint Gregory’s University at home on March 12; this is one of the team’s most significant conference games, Gower said.
“We never underestimate teams, but Oklahoma City University and Saint Gregory’s are the two teams we are looking to take down because of their stature in the conference,” Gower said.
Assistant coach Matt Wilkins is in charge of the pitchers and said that this season there is much more communication between them.
“They just have a group mindset this year and are more vocal with each other,” Wilkins said. “The practice format has also really allowed the girls to excel and hone their crafts a bit better.”
Wilkins has noticed that his pitchers are more focused and competitive and he wants to see more of that.
“I just want them to have a bulldog mentality and attain a deeper focus on the mound so they can perform to the best of their ability,” Wilkins said.
Junior psychology major and first baseman Samantha Vasquez came from Ranger College, and said she never really had to compete for a spot there.
“Coming to Wesleyan has made me more of a teammate because I have to battle every day at practice, and during games to keep my place on the field,” Vasquez said.
The Lady Rams play a doubleheader Friday against Bacone College at Sycamore Park in Fort Worth. The first game starts at 2 p.m. Admission is free.