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Consistent play remains focus for Iowa softball

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | OCTOBER 01, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa softball team learned firsthand this weekend how difficult it can be to get back into a game after making errors in the first few innings.

In the four games the team played this past weekend in the All-Iowa Classic in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes finished with a 2-2 record, recording wins against Drake and Iowa State while falling to Upper Iowa and Northern Iowa. While it was their first action of the season, one thing was evident from the first pitch: When the Black and Gold play a consistent game through all seven innings, they can hang with anyone.

Conversely, when they let the opposition grab a big lead in one inning, it is nearly impossible to claw back.

“We’ve got to eliminate the big inning,” head coach Marla Looper said. “Offensively, we want to obviously create a big inning, but at the same time, we need to eliminate the other team from having a big inning. As a coach, you get frustrated with mistakes, and obviously, there were a lot of them tonight, but the last thing you want to do is dwell on them.”

If you watched either of the last two games the Hawkeyes played Sunday, you’d know exactly where Looper was coming from. Twice the team made costly errors that put the opposition up several runs, a deficit that proved to be insurmountable for the Hawks.

“We have to fix it,” Looper said. “Obviously, nothing is going to change until we make some adjustments and fix those things, and it’s simple things. We have to learn how to play catch again. You can’t do anything in this game without that little yellow ball.”

In the game against Upper Iowa on Sunday, a ball through the legs of the third baseman Michelle Zoeller allowed runs to score, which put the Hawks at a disadvantage early in the game; subsequent errors allowed Upper Iowa to increase its lead.

“We need to clean up our defense, which was a main problem,” Zoeller said. “We had way too many errors, and I think for a lot of the time our energy was just lacking, so we need to tighten up and pick up the momentum.”

Errors also proved costly when the Hawks faced Northern Iowa. While Iowa pitcher Micaela Whitney only allowed 1 hit in the game, the Panthers were able to score 5 runs — the bulk of which were direct results of Iowa’s four errors in the second and third innings.

“I though our biggest issue was just communicating,” pitcher Kayla Massey said. “I think it will get better over a period of time the more we play, but obviously, we’re still trying to fix that.”


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