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Lady Lions softball win their first conference road series

By Zachary Araki
On April 11, 2017

Junior outfielder Kalyn Watts had two runs-batted-in and scored one run in the series against Houston Baptist. Watts also has 20 RBI’s on the season.
File photo/The Lion’s Roar

The Lady Lions softball team won two of their three games at Houston Baptist which resulted in their first road series victory in the Southland Conference. 

On Apr. 7 and 8, the team lost the first game 2-3 but finished with 3-2 and 8-4 wins. The victory brought the team’s record to 19-19 overall and 8-7 in conference. 

“We were able to execute our hitting attack in game three to near perfection, and I was just really pleased with our offense in game three,” said Head Coach Rick Fremin. “I was also pleased with our freshman pitcher Alley McDonald, who was able to get her first collegiate win in game three of the series.” 

Though undefeated in home conference play, the team faced challenges as a road team. 

“You’re in a different environment,” said Fremin. “We didn’t play Houston Baptist last year in the conference rotation. So, a lot of players, we’re seeing them for the first time and you just try to get acclimated with that playing surface, that venue, their fans. I thought in game two, we found a way to win. In game three, we really came out strong in the beginning of the game to take the series. So as the series went on, we got more comfortable with the environment and the venue. So, it just shows a little bit of maturity taking place in our team.”

Becoming a better road team was a goal for the Lady Lions in the game.  

“I’m glad we overcame our fear of leaving on the road and got to win,” said junior outfielder Kalyn Watts. 

For Watts, the focus is already on the next game. She has hit five of the team’s 10 home runs this season.   

“Just getting better each day I guess,” said Watts. “Put that game behind me ‘cause I mean, I can’t let that get to me. I guess just try to get better each and every game, try to do something different, be better than I was the last game.” 

Fremin considered the games an opportunity for improvement. 

“As a coach, I think we’re raising our softball IQ,” said Fremin. “We have a better understanding of the game, we’re more mature than we were earlier in the season, and I just feel if we can keep growing and keep the team healthy, we’ll finish strong.”

Senior pitcher Kasey Nielson saw the team come together as the season progressed. 

“I feel like we’re growing a lot as a team,” said Nielson. “We’re learning a lot about each other and who can do what basically. We’re growing a lot more together rather than being individuals. We’re becoming more of a team, and we’ve suffered some losses that we shouldn’t have, but we’ve learned from those losses and I feel like we’re getting better day by day, just growing together and pushing one another, supporting one another. I feel like we’re really building a good foundation for the future programs to come.”

The softball team will face University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Apr. 11, and Northwestern State University at home on Apr. 14 and 15. 

“UL Lafayette is one of the toughest venues to play in,” said Fremin. “Hopefully that’s a contest that can prepare us for the conference tournament, and I really feel that Northwestern is going to be something that’s very pivotal for our season. Hopefully it will turn in our favor, but they’re a very good conference team.” 

Nielson attributed part of the team’s motivation to fans. 

“Coach Fremin has come in and done a tremendous job of getting all of our girls involved with the community and our fans, and trying to build our fan base because when we have more people there supporting us and when we know that people are supporting us, it pushes us to that extra mile to win not only for our team but for our community and our school,” said Nielson. 

 

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