The Lady Bears kicked off the Miken Classic with two big wins.
Head Coach Glenn Moore was upset in recent games despite their wins because the team’s offense wasn’t producing any runs. He challenged the team to be more aggressive, and it produced 26 hits and 18 runs in both games combined.
“I saw very confident hitters and you know, I thought we hit some pitchers pitches in situations that were in favor of the pitcher and we swung the bat well,” Moore said.
In the first game, Baylor was the home team, so Northern Colorado was on offense first. After two fly balls and a ground out, Baylor was up to the plate. Baylor started off with back-to-back base hits from sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Thumann and senior centerfielder Kathy Shelton. Junior first baseman Holly Holl walked to load the bases. A groundout from freshman outfielder Linsey Hays allowed Thumann to score. After back-to-back outs, the first inning ended.
Freshman third baseman Sarah Smith gave the offense the power and speed it was looking for by hitting a triple. Freshman outfielder Justine Young came in as the pitch runner and freshman infielder Bailey Chalmers was up to the plate. Chalmers had a RBI-single to right, allowing Young to score. Strickland had a base hit, which allowed sophomore infielder Jill Reid to advance to second. Shelton was up to bat and had an RBI-single to right. Reid scored and Shelton advanced to second on the throw.
Baylor’s defense played a flashy game filled with diving catches including a clutch catch from Thumann. Baylor played a complete game, as they defeated Northern Colorado 8-1. After back-to-back games of not being able to produce offensively, this game gave the Lady Bears confidence.
“I think we were working though it. We’ve been struggling, and you have to stay patient in this game,” Shelton said. “You have to believe in yourself even when you are struggling, and I think we have come together as a team.”
In the second game of the double-header, the offense was even more explosive. Smith and Shelton made good things happen again in the second inning. After a walk from Smith, junior catcher Clare Hosack hit a single to the left that allowed Smith to advance to second. Strickland was on the plate next, and after a wild pitch, Smith advanced to third and Hosack advanced to second. Thumann walked after and Shelton was up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs. Shelton hit a RBI single allowing Smith to score. Hosack advanced to third and Thumann advanced to second. Holl was up to the late next and hits an RBI double as Hosack and Thumann score. Shelton moves to third while Holl advanced to third.
The offense didn’t stop there. After two outs, Smith was hit by the pitch and the offensive scoring continued. Hosack hit a single allowing Smith to advance to second. Strickland singled to left center allowing Hosack to advance to second and Smith to score. After switching pitchers, Pacific didn’t have an answer for Baylor. Thumann singled up the middle and advanced to second on the throw, allowing Strickland to advance to third and Hosack to score. Shelton hit an RBI double allowing Strickland and Thumann to score. Holl was next on the plate and walked. Hays was on the plate next, and after a wild pitch, Holl advanced to second and Shelton advanced to third. Hays singled to left field allowing Holl to advance to third and Shelton to score. Stearns hit a single and Hays ran to second base as Holl scored.
The Lady Bears had a dominant performance winning 10-1. The pitching was consistent and well and the defense played great. Junior left-handed pitcher Whitney Canion had a great night having an ERA of 0.59. The offense finally got on rhythm, helping the pitchers out.
“We needed that confidence tonight,” Canion said. “We needed that booster. Everyone knew that confidence going into the box, on the field and just as a team, to get into the dugout and everyone cheering for each other and I just think we gelled finally. And I hope we carry this over because we were finding ourselves in the past few games like we hadn’t found ourselves and I’m hoping today was the day that we found who Baylor softball was in 2013.”