Rocket Softball Season Starts

The UT Women started the UNI Dome Classic slow, but ended it with a win

Rachel Nearhoof /IC

Rachel Nearhoof /IC

Rachel Nearhoof /IC

Kenny Kruse, Staff Reporter

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The University of Toledo softball team began their 2017 season in a tournament at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa this past weekend, playing five games in three days. The Rockets had a rough start, losing the first four games, but did happen to end the tournament on a good note with a big win.
The Rockets lost to UNI 8-0, University of Wisconsin 10-7, South Dakota State University 6-3 and University of Montana 8-6. UT turned things around to beat University of Nebraska-Omaha 17-5 to get their first win of the season, improving their record to 1-4.
The UT girls took on Northern Iowa for their first game on Friday. Northern Iowa was running strong on all cylinders and only allowed the Rockets to collect two hits during the first game of the tournament.
“I didn’t think we were very aggressive today,” said head coach Kristen Butler in a UTRockets interview. “I thought our energy was okay coming out for the first game of the season, and our defense played well today. However, neither our pitchers or hitters really attacked today.”

The Rockets looked to bounce back from their first loss the next day when they battled against the Wisconsin Badgers during the first game of the Saturday doubleheader but could not come any closer than three runs.
The losses continued into the second game of the Saturday doubleheader. The matchup looked like a promising victory for the Rockets until South Dakota State scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Heading into the last day of the tournament, the Rockets were desperate for a win.
Sunday morning, the Rockets battled with Montana and allowed the Grizzlies to score two go-ahead runs to take the lead. The Rockets were unable to recover the lead, and Montana took the win.
With one more matchup left, the Rockets managed to work out the kinks out for their final tournament game of the Sunday doubleheader. The Rockets had a hitting fest against Nebraska-Omaha with a total of 18 hits.
UT collected a good portion of them in the productive fourth and ninth innings. Heather Webb, second-year pitcher, collected the win, and second-year pitcher Kailey Minarchick earned the save.
“We moved some people around, and we switched up the lineup against Omaha,” said Butler in a UTRockets interview. “It got people more involved and really caused everyone to be focused and ready to go. Hitting is contagious, and it puts pressure on the defense and pitcher. Our offense was tremendous, and it finally all came together. I was very proud of them.”
Progress and improvements were made as time went on. “We saw some losses this weekend, but we truly got better each game,” said Butler in a UTRocket interview. “Every game our hitting and pitching got better. We just had to hone in and focus in on the process. Once we started fine-tuning the little things in our game, we saw some improvements.”
Next weekend, the Rockets will travel to Boca Raton, Florida for another tournament to play five games in three days. The midnight blue and gold will face Tulsa and Florida Atlantic on Friday, Syracuse and St. John’s on Saturday and Savannah State early Sunday.

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Rocket Softball Season Starts