Softball: Wildcats work on staying in the moment

Josh Walfish, Reporter

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Teams supposedly improve the most from the first week to the second. Northwestern certainly hopes that’s the case.

The Wildcats went 0-5 last weekend, their worst start since 1991 when the team lost its first seven contests. NU is borrowing a notion from its football program by “flushing” this past weekend and keeping its eye on the long season ahead, which starts Friday with the Georgia Softball Classic.

“We’re just going to forget about our first week out,” sophomore infielder Anna Edwards said. “We’re moving past it and we see this next weekend as an opportunity to go out there again and prove everybody wrong. This past weekend was a little bit of a wake-up call and we’re that much more ready to go out there and show everybody what we’re made of.”

NU is working on trying to be more consistent after having an up and down weekend. Despite playing two ranked teams competitively, the Cats struggled to play with that same intensity in a 7-3 loss to Oregon State and an 11-3 defeat at the hands of Boise State.

Coach Kate Drohan said her main focus this week is making sure the team responded psychologically. She said her team had some good and ugly moments last weekend, but she hopes the team realizes how much energy is required to “win every pitch.” The team worked on fundamentals and made physical changes on Tuesday, but Drohan said she is more concerned with how her team approaches the upcoming games.

“What we’ve been talking about this week is our mentality,” Drohan said. “How hard we’re willing to compete every single pitch … I really want the team to respond mentally.”

Sophomore Amy Letourneau said the team has really been concentrating on trying to stay focused for every pitch and to stay in the moment. Edwards echoed that sentiment, saying the team has to play at “one speed” and not worry about the bigger picture. Letourneau said the team’s biggest goal for this weekend is to play a more mentally consistent game.

“We’re going to make adjustments,” Letourneau said. “We’re going to take every inning as it comes. I think we’re going to be a different team (than last weekend) and I’m really excited.”

One of the big changes the Cats must make is limiting base runners.

The NU pitching staff walked 29 and gave up 38 hits to opposing batters last weekend. However, the Cats also made 14 fielding errors which produced 13 unearned runs, including all four in a 4-3 loss to No. 13 Arizona. Drohan said the key for the pitchers to limit base runners this weekend is to trust themselves in the big moments and challenge hitters.

After coming back from Arizona without a win, a victory this weekend is ultra-important for the Cats. Even though the team first got back to practice on Tuesday, Drohan sensed her team was ready to get back on the field.

“It’s huge,” Drohan said of getting the first win. “The team can’t wait to play already.”

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