Softball team to host Indiana State at Williams Field

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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Tuesday will be the Eastern softball team’s fifth and sixth attempt at trying to play its home opener at Williams Field.

Last week, Eastern’s originally scheduled game against Butler was postponed due to rain and the make-up date two days later was also rained out. Friday, and the OVC home opener against Southeast Missouri was washed away after rain all week.

But there is a chance the Panthers will take the field for the first time at Williams Field in a doubleheader against Indiana State, which is supposed to start at 3 p.m., weather permitting.

The long stretch of rain outs came directly after Eastern went 4-0 in OVC opening weekend, senior pitcher Jessica Wireman won OVC Pitcher of the Week and the offense was clicking for the Panthers.

“This stretch has been super irritating because the whole team, myself included, is itching to just be outside and playing, but the rain keeps getting in our way,” Wireman said. “We really hope that the weather (Tuesday) plays in our favor so we can get out of the (Lantz) Field House.”

Playing in the Lantz Field House means hitting in a cage, pitching with no true live hitting and playing on the rubber track.

Wireman as a 1.80 ERA this season, but keeping her arm ready to go over this stretch has not been hard.

“In practice we do power workouts to make sure our legs and arm stays strong, and then we simulate innings and throw to batters to get that ‘throwing in the game’ feeling,” Wireman said.

“These workouts keep all of us pitchers ready for the games to come, mentally and physically.”

The Panthers’ doubleheader with the Sycamores has the chance of rain Tuesday, and Wireman said she just hopes that it stays away.

Eastern had a stretch in April in 2017 where it had 10 out of 11 games canceled, including a game against Indiana State.

Half of the OVC also had trouble getting games in last weekend. Eastern and five other teams have played four games, while the other half has played six.

Even with the chance of having its fifth game of the year canceled Tuesday, coach Kim Schuette is proud how the team has continued to work hard and stay focused, she said.

“We can spend our minutes complaining about things we can’t control or we can use the minutes to get better, get stronger or get healthier. Once in a while, a good practice is a day off.”

The Panthers have been used to playing weekends filled with softball, sometimes up to five games and for the first time in two weeks, had nothing going on.

Schuette said she liked how the team came back to practice on Monday.

“I feel we are healthier and stronger,” she said about having the extended time off. “We will keep doing what we are doing and be ready when we get the opportunity to play. And this group is eager to play. Sometimes when you don’t get to do something, it makes you appreciate and increase your desire even more.”

If Eastern does not play Tuesday, it will have another chance this weekend with a doubleheader against Morehead State Saturday and Eastern Kentucky Sunday.

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