Eastern to host first OVC opponent

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Eastern to host first OVC opponent

Junior Maria DeVito throws the ball to first for the out in the Eastern softball team’s home opening win against Indiana State last Thursday at Williams Field. Eastern hosts Southeast Missouri Wednesday for its OVC home opener.

Junior Maria DeVito throws the ball to first for the out in the Eastern softball team’s home opening win against Indiana State last Thursday at Williams Field. Eastern hosts Southeast Missouri Wednesday for its OVC home opener.

Sean Hastings

Junior Maria DeVito throws the ball to first for the out in the Eastern softball team’s home opening win against Indiana State last Thursday at Williams Field. Eastern hosts Southeast Missouri Wednesday for its OVC home opener.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Junior Maria DeVito throws the ball to first for the out in the Eastern softball team’s home opening win against Indiana State last Thursday at Williams Field. Eastern hosts Southeast Missouri Wednesday for its OVC home opener.

JJ Bullock, Assistant Sports Editor

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Six times this season the Eastern softball team was supposed to have its home conference opener, and six times the games had to be postponed because of a lack of cooperation from the weather. 

But finally, on Wednesday, the Panthers will host Southeast Missouri for a doubleheader where they will end a streak of postponed games and will seek to extend its current eight-game winning streak. 

Eastern has not played since April 5 when it hosted Indiana State and has not played a conference team since March 25 at Tennessee State, but despite the lack of recent play, Eastern feels ready to go for its match with the Redhawks. 

Eastern coach Kim Schuette said her team has been practicing hard and taking days off for recovery and health during the long periods of time between games. 

“Lately we have done a couple of scrimmages as well to get that live feeling and see live pitching,” Schuette said. “We believe hard work and success at practice, good prep, directly relates to confidence to perform in games. If you aren’t confident, you better fake it or go to practice and get more reps until you ae confident (and) feel more prepared.”

Southeast Missouri does not particularly stand out offensively or on the mound from the rest of the OVC, but its numbers in both categories have been solid enough to give the Redhawks a 22-13 overall record (6-2 OVC). 

The Redhawks do not walk a lot of batters on the mound, but walk a lot at the plate, a combination any team or coach would love to have. 

Southeast Missouri has drawn a conference-high 111 walks this season and only walk 2.63 batters per game.

Schuette said that despite Southeast Missouri’s high-walk rate at the plate, her pitchers will continue to attack batters like they have all season long. 

Six Southeast Missouri batters have drawn double-digit walk totals this season, with Mykaela Arellanes leading the team with 18. Arellanes also leads the team with a .468 on base percentage and a .360 batting average. 

Eastern will most likely see the combination of starters of Haley Thogmartin, who has a team-low 2.79 ERA, and Madeline Krumrey who leads the team with 95.2 innings pitched and 10 wins. 

When it comes to starting pitching matchup with Southeast Missouri, Eastern statistically will be better in both games. The Panthers will likely counter Southeast Missouri with Jessica Wireman (1.69 ERA) and Michelle Rogers (2.86 ERA).

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]