Softball's off-week gives the team time for improvement

BY JACK ROSSI | MARCH 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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This time last season, the Iowa softball team was off to a hot start with a record of 13-5, and things were looking good. This season, they have not had that kind of start. They have struggled so far and their record of 4-10 does not resemble the team head coach Marla Looper has seen in the past.

“It’s frustrating,” senior Kayla Massey said. “I think we all just have to know that we can pull through anything.”

The Hawkeyes had some scrimmages last week in practice, which helped get the team into a game mentality. However, after a mercy-rule victory on Feb.28, the weather could not hold out and they had a couple rain delays which caused them to lose some of that momentum they’ve been looking for all season.

“Unfortunately, we had two rain-out games, and I feel like we could have used that win on Friday to help us on Saturday,” sophomore Erin Erickson said. “I also think the scrimmages were really beneficial for us going into it. I know a lot of us got a sense of practicing having a game mindset. It’s a lot better when you can have game situations.”

Heading into their off week, the team is aiming to turn things around by working on some fundamentals while also building off of what they already have.

“We kind of have a two week training camp now before the next part of our season,” head coach Marla Looper said. “Similar to our preseason in the winter time, we are going to do some things that maybe we wouldn’t be able to do every day at practice and build those in,”

On Tuesday, the team entered their indoor practice facility to see something brand-new for the team: an obstacle course that the coaches have set up to try to get the players working together more.

“This is a little obstacle course,” Looper said. “We are going to learn to trust and take away some senses to trust the people around us and believe in what their telling us. As well as listening skills.”

The Hawkeyes have all the pieces needed to succeed, they just need to put it all together during this off week and be the best team that they can be by the time conference play begins.

“We have all of the components needed to turn this around and do unbelievable in conference,” Erickson said. “I think all of us want to do well in conference,”

Pitching is also an aspect that needs attention. After last weekend, the pitchers look to be stepping in the right direction after tossing a shutout against Valparaiso and giving up 4 walks over the entire weekend. They hope to solidify the position over these next few weeks.

“All of our pitchers have done a better job of limiting the walks,” Looper said. “Limiting the free passes, then you give us a better chance to win.”

The Hawkeyes will keep quiet until March. 15 when they head to Texas, where Looper coached as an assistant for 11 years. She sees a good matchup down the road.

“It’s far ahead but we’re preparing for it,” Looper said. “I’m excited to get down there. I really do think we can match up well with them when we put the Iowa Hawkeye team I know we’ve got.”

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