Courtney Mosch thinks the softball team needs a killer instinct, Britta Giddens thinks the team is getting frustrated with the lack of offensive production and coach Ken Eriksen is using doubleheaders on Tuesday and Wednesday to gauge whether his team is ready for conference play.
That’s just a few of the issues the softball team tried to work out in three tournaments over spring break. Along with having a team issue during the adidas Invitational, the Bulls (24-14) need to fix their problems quickly as conference play is rapidly approaching.
“We have a lot of new players this year and the camaraderie is different,” Mosch said. “We have to have that killer-instinct mentality and right now we don’t have that.”
Despite a 3-1 loss to Boston University on Sunday in the semifinals of the Speedline Invitational at the USF softball field, Eriksen thinks his team is on the right track.
“We are playing a lot better and I like what we are doing offensively,” Eriksen said. “We are moving the ball, getting people on base, and this young team is starting find an identity.”
Giddens, Mosch, Alison Savarese and Aya Nakajima all hit the ball hard, but couldn’t find the holes in Boston University’s defense. It seemed as if every time a Bulls hitter made contact, there was a Boston University infielder scooping the ball and making a play.
“What can you do? You hit the ball hard, but you hit right to someone,” Giddens said. “It’s getting frustrating, but it’s getting a lot better than it was and our mechanics are good, so it’s going in the right direction.”
Mosch, who just returned from a kidney infection, pitched for the first time in 10 days and it showed. Mosch went 2 1/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits. Kristen Gordon pitched 4 2/3 innings of relief, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out nine.
Eriksen was happy with Gordon’s performance but said the defense behind his pitchers was not up to par.
“Too many hitters coming to the plate and too many batters getting extra at-bats,” Eriksen said. “When you don’t make the routine plays early, then hitters get extra at-bats.”
During the adidas Invitational, one player was showing a lack of commitment toward the team and it bothered many of her teammates. Eriksen put the team on a regimen of two practices a day to get players’ minds back on playing team softball, but the damage in the tournament was done.
USF went 2-5 in the adidas Invitational and committed 17 errors through five losses. Eriksen believes his team has gotten over the incident and is ready to move forward.
“After the work we did this week in the batting cage and in our workouts, I think the team knows now what the old coach expects of them,” Eriksen said.
It was evident they did as the Bulls won five of their next six games in the two tournaments following the adidas Invitational, prior to Sunday’s loss.
“We’ve had some problems team-wise, so that has impacted our team a lot,” Giddens said. “We have been going through a lot as a team, but we are starting to get back into the swing of things.”
The Bulls have two doubleheaders this week and one next week before conference play, and Eriksen knows those games are important for his team.
“I will know after Wednesday’s game because this week is key to see how we continue to take what we did this past week,” Eriksen said.