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Softball focuses on hitting in early practice

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
by Mark McGee

Rain, sleet and snow may not stop the U.S. Postal Service, but it sure can bring softball practice to a screeching halt.

Softball practice officially opened for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons Monday. But due to wintry weather conditions the team spent the first day working inside on hitting in McQuiddy Gym. Tuesday was more of the same.

Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman is not discouraged with the situation. Hitting is always a priority and the chance for extra work is positive for the young Lady Bisons team.

“We have to take it as it comes,” Ryman said. “That is the nature of living in Nashville and starting practice in January.

“As much as we want to get outside, and as much as we feel we can use that time on the field at this point, we feel like there is a lot of good work that can happen inside from a hitting standpoint. Overall, we had a really good first day.”

Much of the work has been involved with stressing the process of hitting and not the outcome.

“Everybody wants to get a hit,” Ryman said. “Everybody wants to see the ball fly off of their bats.

“That is what we want to see too. But there is a process on how to get there and how to get there consistently.”

But through the hitting drills Ryman is hopeful that her players will be more aggressive at the plate this season.

“We have to do a really good job of putting the ball in play,” Ryman said. “We have to be offensive-minded.

“We can’t sit back. There is a time to work the count and to try to wear down a pitcher a little. But there is also a time to be aggressive…to go up there hacking…and try to make something happen instead of waiting for something to happen.”

The 2013 Lady Bisons will have better overall team speed than last season, and might be the fastest team that Ryman has coached as she begins her eighth season.

“We are going to try to force the issue a little bit more this year, whether it be base running or just looking for pitches earlier in the count to hit,” Ryman said. “We will try to put the pressure on the defense as much as we can and take advantage of our speed.

“We will let our power hitters do their thing. But we saw several times in the fall that we can produce runs in a number of ways, and it is not all from our power hitters. That is a good feeling knowing that the bottom of our order has the ability to produce runs and that our top two hitters can produce a run before our No. 3 hitter comes up.”

The Lady Bisons have seven left-handed batters on the roster which provides a new dynamic to go along with the speed of the team.

“We have several lefties who can hit, bunt or slap,” Ryman said. “They can find a number of ways to get on. They will be reading the defense and taking what the defense gives them.

“We have a good number of power hitters in the middle and several of them run well. We have some righties at the bottom of the order that have speed and some good pop in their bats.”

Ryman has stressed versatility in the recruitment of players. This team is deep with several players capable of filling a variety of roles.

“We have a number of weapons this year and good depth both offensively and defensively,” Ryman said. “From a coaching standpoint we have to put the best nine on the field and have the others ready to go off of the bench. They know they are all going to contribute at some point.”
 
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.