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Softball Notebook: Gyerman settling into leadoff role

BY JORDAN HANSEN | FEBRUARY 12, 2015 5:00 AM

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Sammi Gyerman is getting comfortable at the top of the order. That’s something that should scare the rest of the Big Ten.

The redshirt sophomore is batting .357 through the first five games with five hits. She is tied for second on the team in on base percentage among those who have started all five games.

“I like hitting leadoff and I’m comfortable hitting leadoff,” Gyerman said. “It’s important as leadoff hitter to help out the other batters. Seeing pitches, taking pitches, what to swing at or not to swing at and I felt comfortable doing that.”

Gyerman has improved her batting numbers tremendously over her previous seasons (including her injury shortened campaign last year) and it’s looking like she’ll do more of the same this year.

Head coach Marla Looper certainly has confidence in Gyerman and was quick to point out how she fit what the coach was looking for in a leadoff hitter.

“We need a table-setter and she has the tendency and ability to do that,” Looper said. “She has the ability to get runners on and has good speed.”

Shuffling the order

With the season still quite young, Looper and the Iowa coaching staff are still in the midst of working with their batting order.

The top three spots haven’t changed yet and with Gyerman, freshman Cheyenne Pratt, and Megan Blank combining to hit a respectable .375 through the first five games, it does not seem like they will change drastically in the foreseeable future.

However, that is not the case throughout the rest of the order.

“We will play with the lineup depending on what kind of production we’re getting and depending on how the team needs to be laid out,” Looper said. “Starting the season you see people in certain spots and as we go through, the lineup shifts quite a bit.”

One of the most obvious things that the coaching staff is trying to figure out is who to put as their cleanup hitter in the fourth spot.

At the beginning of last weekend, Looper had freshman Allie Wood hitting cleanup. However, after she only registered one hit through the first three games, she switched spots with Whitney Repole, who was in the six spot.

For her credit, Repole already has eight RBI and the move is looking to already be paying dividends — but no promises have been made to anyone.

“It could be different this weekend, I don’t know,” Looper said. “Sometimes it’s just we need someone to get on and then the RBI producers get thrown in behind them.”

Gator danger

The defending national champions will be waiting for Iowa when the Hawkeyes get to the Sunshine State on Friday.

Florida went 55-12 last season and beat Alabama 2-0 in the Women’s College World Series.

To beat them would be a tall task, but catcher Holly Hoffman feels that the team is ready for the hefty challenge they face.

“I’m very excited. We have a lot of new freshman on the team and it will be great for them to see that level of play,” Hoffman said. “It’s only going to make us better.

Follow @JordyHansen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa softball team.


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