Softball team with 2 doubleheaders

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Coach Kim Schuette called junior Kayla Bear’s diving catch in left center field in the seventh inning of the first game Wednesday against Southeast Missouri the best she has seen on that field.

No one was on base and the Panthers were already up 4-1, but it showed another bright spot that Eastern’s softball team has through now six conference games.

The win in game one pushed the Panthers to 5-0 in the OVC and a win following that made them 6-0.

And now Eastern has a chance to make it 10 conference wins in a row as it is set to play a doubleheader against (4-6) Tennessee-Martin Friday, which was supposed to be played Saturday but was moved due to poor weather in the forecast.

The Panthers are still slated to play (5-1) Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Sunday.

What Schuette liked so much about that play is that it showed how if the hitting is not working well, the pitchers step up and if the pitchers give up a big hit, the fielders also have their back, and vice versa.

Following Bear’s diving catch, senior pitcher Michelle Rogers gave up a hit up the middle, but went on and struck out the next batter to secure the win.

Schuette called that “the armor” of the team.

Tennessee-Martin is one of the teams that has not had its season readjusted because of bad weather as it has already played 10 games, compared to Eastern’s six.

Leading the offensive charge for the Skyhawks is Alli Fulcher, who is batting .298, which is second on the team, but she leads Tennessee-Martin with a .492 slugging percentage and 21 RBIs.

Sophomore Haley Mitchell leads Eastern in that category with 43.

Tennessee-Martin takes on the same approach with two main pitchers just like Eastern. Caitlin Karo and Hannah Ridolfi have similar numbers as both have sub 3.00 ERAs.

Ridolfi has struck out nine more batters than Karo, with 48, but she has pitched six more innings than Karo.

Compared to Eastern, the Skyhawks are not much of a strikeout pitching team. Wireman has pitched 17 less innings and has tallied 138 strikeouts and Rogers has racked up 63 in 90 innings pitched.

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville is a strong hitting team like Eastern with four players batting over .300 and four with double-digit RBI totals.

Pitching-wise, the Cougars turn to one pitcher a majority of the time as Emily Ingles has pitched 100.2 innings this season, which is 45 more than the next pitcher.

Ingles does not strikeout batters like Wireman, but she, like Wireman, does not give up a lot of runs. She is 10-5 with a 1.81 ERA.

Friday’s games will start at 2 and 4 p.m. and Sunday’s games will start at 1 and 3 p.m.

Sean Hastings can be reached at581-2812 or [email protected]