Softball team sits at .500 in conference play

April+Markowski%2C+an+outfielder%2C+attempts+to+get+a+hit+the+softball+game+against+Murray+State+Monday+at+Williams+Field.+The+Panthers+currently+have+a+record+of+10-16.
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Softball team sits at .500 in conference play

April Markowski, an outfielder, attempts to get a hit the softball game against Murray State Monday at Williams Field. The Panthers currently have a record of 10-16.

April Markowski, an outfielder, attempts to get a hit the softball game against Murray State Monday at Williams Field. The Panthers currently have a record of 10-16.

Kevin Hall

April Markowski, an outfielder, attempts to get a hit the softball game against Murray State Monday at Williams Field. The Panthers currently have a record of 10-16.

Kevin Hall

Kevin Hall

April Markowski, an outfielder, attempts to get a hit the softball game against Murray State Monday at Williams Field. The Panthers currently have a record of 10-16.

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

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The Eastern softball team has played 26 games this season and is 10-16 overall.

Eastern is also 5-5 in the conference and tied for fifth place.

The Panthers have had their ups and downs throughout the season, Panther coach Angie Nicholson said.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” Nicholson said. “I think that’s probably the most frustrating part, because we see moments of greatness and then we’ll see moments where it’s like ‘oh my god’.”

Nicholson said it’s hard to see the moments that could be, but they don’t consistently do it.

She said they want and have to be able to put everything together and not just have one aspect of the game working for them.

Nicholson wants the team to be able to score more runs and make sure that everyone stays healthy and can be utilized.

“I’d really like to see us more than anything, pound the ball,” she said. “We have to put up runs this year. That’s just a fact that we have to face, because we’re giving up quite a bit of runs.”

The Panthers have been outscored by their opponents this year 141-109.

So far this year, the Panthers have had many players contribute to the offense, with senior Bailey O’Dell leading the team offensively.

O’Dell is hitting .422 on the year with 28 runs batted in, eight home runs, seven doubles, and she has also scored 25 runs for the Panthers.

“It’s good to see (O’Dell) doing this,” Nicholson said. “Hopefully it continues for the rest of the month of April.”

Nicholson said O’Dell is just staying calm and relaxed, and is just going out and playing and believes that’s how it should be.

Also having strong years offensively are fellow senior Hannah Cole and junior April Markowski.

Cole is tied for second on the team in RBIs with 15. Markowski leads the team with eight doubles and four steals

Nicholson said she is happy with how much Markowski has been able to contribute to the team.

“I knew what she’s capable of,” Nicholson said. “She’s really risen to the occasion. She’s laying out for us in the outfield, and she steals when she needs to steal.

Markowski is hitting leadoff right now, which is an unfamiliar spot, but Nicholson said she is keeping her there because she is getting on base.

But there have been players who have really stepped up and been “pleasant surprises” for Nicholson.

Nicholson said that freshman Andrea Roberts is someone who has really stepped up for the Panthers and has been nicknamed “the smooth operator” by Nicholson.

“You don’t really see here rattled,” Nicholson said. “She just goes. She’s even-keeled.”

Freshman pitchers Jessica Wireman and Michelle Rogers have been counted on to pitch mostly every game for the Panthers this season.

Rogers has had 19 appearances this season on the mound. She has a record of 5-7 with a 3.91 earned run average.

Wireman is 4-8 this season with an ERA of 5.65 and has appeared in 18 games this season.

Nicholson said gives them a lot of credit because they have been through a lot and go out there and ‘work their tails off.’

Cole has been someone who has been able to help both pitchers throughout their freshman years.

Nicholson knows the team could be even better if junior Jennette Isaac can be the hitter she was last year.

She said having her on will be big especially if O’Dell and Cole continue to keep driving in the runs like they have been.

The Panthers season will continue this weekend with doubleheaders against conference rivals, Tennessee Tech Saturday and Jacksonville State Sunday.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].