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Softball looks to learn from fall games

Monday, October 10, 2011
by Mark McGee

It’s fall ball and that means nothing the Lipscomb Lady Bisons do during the month of October will be included in any records.

But coach Kristin Ryman wants the mistakes of fall to be made and forgotten like a pile of leaves. Saturday at the UT-Chattanooga tournament the Lady Bisons opened the day with an 8-1 defeat of Motlow State Community College and lost 4-0 to the Lady Bulldogs of Georgia.

Kristen Sturdivant and Ashley Anderson combined for the win over Motlow. Whitney Kiihnl threw the game against Georgia.

A series of infield errors in the fifth inning by the Lady Bisons helped to spark the Georgia victory.

“We have an aggressive defensive team,” Ryman said. “That is a great thing. I want them to stay aggressive. I don’t want them to ever lose that edge.

“There is a fine line between being aggressive and making a silly decision or a silly mistake. If we take those mistakes we are making now and learn from them and get smarter from them I don’t have a problem.”

Ryman was impressed with her trio of pitchers, especially Kiihnl who is making some adjustments in how to face batters.

“Whitney’s biggest challenge is to understand that she is a senior and she is not a surprise anymore. People have seen her for three full years.

“She has to find other ways to get people out. She can’t fully rely on strikeouts. That is coming so naturally to her because she has great movement on her pitches. And she is still going to get her share of strikeouts.”

The Lady Bisons were the best defensive team in the Atlantic Sun Conference last season. And despite the miscues this fall Ryman stresses that the pitchers have to be confident in the play of the defense.

“Our pitchers can’t be afraid of contact,” Ryman said. “They have to be able to let the defense work behind them.

“We had the one rough inning that led to more than it should have. But Whitney stayed composed.”

There was a strong contrast in the competition, but Ryman expected that would be the case.

“We saw two totally difference extremes,” Ryman said. “It was tough to go from the pitching we saw against Motlow to what we saw against Georgia. But we still found a way to get some hits against Georgia and put ourselves in a position to make things happen.”

Sturdivant continues to make strides in her new role as a pitcher. She also played first base against Georgia.

“The biggest thing for Kristen right now is to focus on a couple of little mechanical things and to try to throw strikes,” Ryman said. “She will fine tune some things this fall. I’m excited at where she is right now.”