By Roderick Wilbon, Sports Editor
The University of Missouri-St. Louis softball team made their way back home to chilling weather. The Tritons came off a long road trip at the National Training Center Spring Games, down in lovely Clermont, Florida. The road trip was a good one with the team winning six of seven games. The team has looked great and seemed ready to start Great Lakes Valley Conference play in one of the hardest conferences.
The Tritons took on Saginaw Valley State (SVS) on March 9 in a double-header day. The Tritons looked really primed and coached up. Everything was clicking for the Tritons in this double-header. The first game was won 7-1 and the second game 7-0. The battery was really working in both games. Carly Kingery, junior, nursing, pitched the first game almost to a complete game shutout. She struck out seven batters and only gave up one run off a single homer from Courtney Reeves of SVS.
In the second game CoCo Caraway, sophomore, elementary education, and Andee Tiffee, sophomore, secondary education, put together a shutout performance for the home crowd. Tiffee took over in relief in the fifth inning and managed to keep runs off the board with bases loaded and no outs. She would go on to relinquish the next three batters of their duties. After that jam, it was short work for the lady Tritons.
UMSL batters jumped on SVS early in both games. It helps a ton when your catcher helps on both sides of the ball. Serena Olson, junior, finance, catcher for the team, caught a good game defensively but also contributed offensively in a big way. In the first game, she put up one RBI off one hit, but in the second game she would homer for two more ribbies. Reagan Osborn, junior, nursing, did a ton of damage, too. She had four hits and five RBIs on the day to lead all hitters.
“I just went up there with no pressure on me and put the bat on the ball,” said Olson. “We’re doing our job. Every pitcher knows their role, and I’m here to help them out in any way.”
The Lady Tritons were in high spirits all day rooting for teammates and cheering from the dugout, while the opposing team was much more subdued and quiet. Head coach Amanda Scott was relentless in coaching, using every opportunity to score runs and assess the team for coachable moments.
“It feels great to come home to play for our fans and sleep in our own beds,” said Scott. “Our pitching was fantastic, our battery did a great job, to hold that offensive team down for 14 innings.” Scott went on to say that, “Even when we have a lead we want to keep playing the game right. This is a tough league, every game is going to be competitive. So we just have to be consistent.”
On March 10, the Lady Tritons began GLVC play against McKendree. Coming into the weekend, McKendree was 13-4 overall, not exactly a slouch, and they showed this early. In the first game, the Tritons were slaughtered and the game was called after a score of 10-2. McKendree scored five runs in the second inning alone, off a home run, three walks, and a batter hit-by-pitch.
The second game would be different, as UMSL was quick to shake off the first game. UMSL came out aggressive, putting hits together in the first inning. They scored five runs in the first inning, with most of the damage being done by Jennah Perryman, senior, liberal arts, with one hit for two RBIs. Then Madi Sundling, junior, political science and pre-law, followed up with the same production.
McKendree was not going away though with two runs in the fourth inning. Caitlyn Lowry homered, and then Shelby Summer would double for another run for McKendree. A three-run bomb by Brooke Gajewski tied the game 5-5 in the top of the seventh inning. A hero would emerge for the Tritons in the bottom of the seventh inning. Olson would homer for two RBIs and end the game 7-5 for a split with McKendree on the day.
The Lady Tritons face Wisconsin-Parkside in a double-header March 17 for their next home game.