Lions softball season come to an early end


Samantha Zoltanski/The Chart

Junior Brooklyn Farrell bats during the Pink Game against Central Missouri on April 28.

Although the Lions softball team did not make it to post season, there were other aspects of the season it found successful.

Head Coach Bill Gray said the team grew up a lot this season, as the team brought in nine new freshmen.

“We did some good things,” Gray said. “We beat number eight, number 14, and number 24 in the country. We finished the season with the highest amount of doubles we’ve had in about 10 years and home runs as well.”

The Lions finished the season with 72 doubles; the school record is 76. Another record the Lions came close to breaking is the home run record.

The school record for a season is 24 home runs; the Lions had 20. Junior redshirt Dawn Grass broke the school record of career homeruns.

Even though the team is young, Gray and the players said they developed strong team chemistry.

“The new kids that came in wanted to contribute and learn,” Gray said. “And the returners wanted to continue to improve and help teach. Everybody got better together.”

There were a variety of key players this year from freshmen to seniors. Senior Hannah Cooke was named MIAA Pitcher of the Week early in the season.

Freshman pitchers Haley Kinnison and Sarah Williams came to the team prepared, as their performances were vital throughout the season.

Junior Haley Pypes was another strong component in the pitching staff as she achieved a career high of 13 strikeouts in the last game of the season.

Juniors Shelby Romines and Brooklyn Farrell led the team in hitting along with Dawn Grass. Romines lead the team with 40 RBIs, followed by Grass with 26 and Farrell with 24.

Junior Chloe Brown ended the season with a walk-off double to right field with bases loaded in game two on Saturday, to give the Lions the 3-2 win over Central Missouri. Brown earned two more RBIs on Monday during game two against Southwest Baptist.

“I was proud with how we finished strong and won three of the four, but disappointed that we didn’t make it to the tournament,” Brown said. “But I feel like this season showed us what all we need to work on in the fall so that we make it to the tournament next year with good seeding.”

Freshman Alana Hester was another player whose speed and strategy played a role in the Lions batting line-up.

Hester was first in the line-up and if she got on base, she would most likely steal second and make it to home plate with hits from junior Brooke Swadley, Grass or Romines.

“We started off strong, but we didn’t finish out as well as we expected,” Hester said. “We had a lot of potential and still do.”

After experiencing her first year of college softball, Hester plans to get strong, faster and get the fundamentals down for next year.

The Lions are only losing two seniors, Hannah Cooke and Kayce Moore, but have five new girls committed to join the Lions next year.

“We learned a lot,” Gray said. “We identified where we need toimprove next year. We will get after that when we get back here in August.”